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Childhood and the ClassicsBritain and America, 1850-1965$
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Sheila Murnaghan and Deborah H. Roberts

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199583478

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199583478.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Childhood and the Classics

Sheila Murnaghan

Deborah H. Roberts

Oxford University Press

The book’s subject is the widespread and formative reception of classical culture that takes place in childhood, with a specific focus on children’s pleasure reading in Britain and America from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century. The production of literature designed to foster children’s connection to antiquity is identified as an adult project, which begins with the retelling of classical myths in the 1850s and which this study traces primarily in myth collections and works of historical fiction. Attention is also given to adults’ memories of their own childhood encounters with antiquity and the uses and meanings assigned to those encounters in memoirs and other works for adult readers.

Keywords:   classical reception, childhood reading, myth collections, historical fiction, memoirs, late nineteenth century, early twentieth century

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