This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 throughout, and in each are description and social observation beyond the appreciation of young readers; yet they have doubtless never failed with boy as with man to reap the highest triumph possible to fiction, the reader's recognition of his own psychology and temperament. The general unimprovingness of both of these books was balanced, for moralists, by the excess of serious purpose in the author's third book for young people, The Prince and the Pauper (1882). It is an impressive panorama of splendid scenes of ancient legal and royal cruelty. The distinct Americanism, so noteworthy in Mark Twain, was an important characteristic of American juveniles from the beginning. In the school-readers after the Revolution were most naive attempts to enshrine patriotism with the other virtues. Indeed, it was the impatience that children began to manifest at forever reading books with unfamiliar local colour which turned the attention of writers to this hitherto neglected branch of literature. ‘Our Sabbath School library books were nearly all English reprints and most of our every-day reading came to us from over the sea,’ wrote Lucy Larcom. Goodrich and Abbott and the women of the thirties no longer talk of English flowers and birds. When Goodrich took his boy heroes abroad, their comments were often aggressively American; and it is amusing to see that though he censured the horrors of giants for sensitive children he revelled in Indian atrocities. Miss Sedgwick was particularly praised by the North American for her native atmosphere and incidents, when children's books were all following the English moralists. Since the Civil War historical juveniles have covered every phase of national development. It has, indeed, several times been observed that one can get more of American life from the juvenile than from the adult fiction of the period. To a large extent, this is implicit in the problem of interesting children. Hawthorne's Grandfather's chair, points out Horace Scudder, discussing the art of writing for them to which he so greatly contributed, is more actual than even The Blithedale romance. Just as markedly American have been the spiritual characteristics of American juveniles. ‘Those English children had to be so prim and methodical,’ wrote Lucy Larcom, ‘they were never allowed to romp and run wild.’ The growing independence of American children appeared in the successive
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.