Department of English

University of Toronto

ENG444H1F L0101

ENG444H1F    L0101     T2-4
Advanced Studies Group 4: Eighteenth-Century Children’s Books
Professor Carol Percy 
Office Telephone: 416-978-4287
Office Address: Jackman Humanities Building, room 732
Email: carol.percy@utoronto.ca

Brief Description of Course: Through the ‘long’ eighteenth century, children’s books increased in number and in variety. In this course, we will study some of these publications in their intellectual and social contexts. How did literature for children adopt or adapt trends in contemporary adult literature (e.g. satire, sensibility)? What can representations of supernatural, animal, and human characters tell us about child readers, concepts of childhood, parenthood and development, and social relations and divisions in Britain and its empire? What can we learn from examining the books themselves? For 2017, we will focus further on topics relating to cosmopolitanism.

Eighteenth-century children’s books can seem like alien artifacts. Exploiting the nearby Osborne Collection of Early Children’s Books and the University of Toronto Libraries, you will learn how to find and interpret both secondary and primary sources – not only fiction and poetry for children, but also periodicals and instructional texts. Individual Blackboard blog entries and group-directed discussions will exercise your interpretive skills on a range of these texts. Your research paper is the core of the course. As you plan, research, draft, present, and write it, you will exercise a variety of transferable skills and become (1) very knowledgeable about one children's book of the period and its broader context; (2) able to find and evaluate and use primary and secondary sources for contextualizing and interpreting an historical text; and (3) knowledgeable about some of the major issues and themes in the study of eighteenth-century books for children.


Required Reading: Course textbook(s) will be ordered to the University of Toronto Bookstore (214 College Street). You will also need to have regular and reliable access to the Internet and the Portal in order to participate fully in this course. 

Method of Evaluation: Participation (10%), 1250-word close reading essay (20%), proposal for a research paper (10%), draft of your research paper (15%), final research paper (35%), participation in a group panel presentation on your research project (10%).


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