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The Juvenile TraditionYoung Writers and Prolepsis, 1750–1835$
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Laurie Langbauer

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198739203

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198739203.001.0001

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Backgrounds and Traditions

Backgrounds and Traditions

(p.35) 1 Backgrounds and Traditions
The Juvenile Tradition

Laurie Langbauer

Oxford University Press

Literary juvenilia, considered through classical, neo-Latin, and British literary histories, demonstrate how the juvenile tradition complicates developmental models of history (which often take the supposedly natural growth and progression of childhood as their bedrock). The tropes of imitatio and prolepsis provided a different sense of heritage for child writers. Ideas of precocious genius also complicated those of natural genius current at the time. The changing material conditions and demographics of late eighteenth-century Britain meant a large population of young people flourished during shifts in the production and distribution of print, creating a place for writers able to exploit these new print technologies. The growth of the periodical press and changes in education furthered publication. Self-taught writers looked to the juvenile tradition as much as grammar-schoolboy writers used the juvenilia of neo-Latin poetic satire to establish identities in defiance of adult expectations, creating a different sense of literary history.

Keywords:   Kristeva, Deleuze, Lyotard, natural genius, prolepsis, juvenile, juvenilia, neo-Latin, imitatio

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