The longer I live the more I am convinced of the importance of children’s books. When Robert Bloomfield wrote this in 1817 he could have had no idea of the range of children’s books to come, nor of how in England fantasy would be their outstanding form. In this survey of 400 English childrens fantasies from 1850 to 2001, taking in authors from the well-known Charles Kingsley, C. S. Lewis and J. K. Rowling to the less-known Annie Keary, Edith Elias and Pete Johnson, Colin Manlove shows just how good their books often are as literature. He combines new interpretations of individual works with explanations of how and why their character changes over time, reflecting their different cultural settings. This book is intended both as a critical companion for children’s literature courses, and as a stimulus for the general reader and students at all levels.
Manlove offers succinct, jargon=free readings of the major features of a number of fantasies in each period... his readings and analyses of the way children's literature reflects cultural concerns are insightful and stimulating... Essential. R. E. Jones, Choice
...probably the best and certainly the most up-to-date survey of English children's fantasy literature available. David L. Russell, The Lion and the Unicorn
Colin Manlove taught English literature at the University of Edinburgh till 1993. Though fantasy has been his main interest, he has also written books on Shakespeare and on literature from 1600 to 1800, and a wide range of essays and articles. His work on fantasy ranges from Modern Fantasy (1975) to C. S. Lewis (1987), and from Science Fiction (1986) to Christian Fantasy (1992). His most recent book is The Fantasy Literature of England (1999) which, being mainly about adult fantasy, makes a companion to the present book.
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