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The family in English children's literature

Alston, Ann



This text examines the idea of the family in children's literature from a largely historical perspective. Using 1818 as a starting point and ending with a consideration of contemporary works, it analyses a variety of texts, and contends that, despite the social and other changes that occurred during this period, the ideological construction of the family and its functions remain fundamentally unaltered. Representations in the family have not, the text argues, undergone the revolution that social change might suggest. Divided into two parts the first section of the text locates primary texts in their historical context and confronts the cultural and textual construction of the family. The second section considers themes more specific to family, for exmaple, it focuses on the family home, the spaces within it and the food the families share. What emerges from the study are not so much the contrasts that exist between the periods, but rather the startling similarities of the ideology of family intrinsic to children's literature. Overall, The Family in English Children's Literature works from the general to the particular in order to reveal the pressence, continuity and importance of th ideology of family in children's literature from 1818 to 2003.


Alston, A. (2008). The family in English children's literature. Routledge

Book Type Authored Book
Publication Date Apr 3, 2008
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Series Title Children's Literature and Culture
ISBN 978-0-415-98885-8
Keywords children's literature, family, home, food, spaces, ideology, history
Publisher URL