Monday, July 11, 2011

History of Children's Book Illustration
Children's literature emerged as a distinct and independent genre only a little more than two centuries ago. Prior to the mid-eighteenth century books were rarely created specifically for children, and children's reading was generally confined to literature intended for their education and moral edification rather than for their amusement. Religious works, grammar books, and "courtesy books" (which offered instruction on proper behavior) were virtually the only early books directed at children. In these books illustration played a relatively minor role, usually consisting of small woodcut vignettes or engraved frontispieces created by anonymous illustrators.
Jean Jacques Rousseau
New attitudes toward children and their education began to develop in the late seventeenth century, when many educators appealed for greater consideration of children's distinctive needs and when the notion of pleasure in learning was becoming more widely accepted. Most indicative of this evolution of ideas are the writings of philosophers John Locke (1632–1704) and Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–78). In 1693 Locke wrote in Some Thoughts Concerning Education "children should be treated as rational creatures . . .. They must not be hindered from being children, nor from playing and doing as children, but from doing ill." Rousseau regarded childhood as a pure and natural state—one distinct from adulthood—and believed that a central goal of education should be to preserve the child's original nature. He also believed that it was essential for teachers to see things as children do. The writings of Locke and Rousseau influenced British educators, and their ideas ultimately led to a more “humane” approach to education in which enjoyment was considered an aid to learning. This was the beginning of illustration in children’s books and the beginning of the children’s book for not only education but also for enjoyment.
Illustrated manuscript of Aesop's Fables.
Wood engraving by Albrecht Durer
By the early eighteenth century interest in children's literature (and a rise in literacy) led to new markets and a flourishing of new publishers, particularly in England. Innovations in typography and printing allowed greater freedom in reproducing art through engraving, woodcut, etching, and aquatint, although illustrators were still largely anonymous and illustrations confined to frontispieces.

In the very beginning was Aesop, or someone like Aesop, telling fables. And so we begin with the earliest known papyrus fragment (third or early fourth century) of the story of the farmer who set fire to a raiding fox’s tail and thereby destroyed his own field of grain; next the earliest and most nearly complete collection of Aesopian fables as presented in Latin verse by Phaedrus (ninth century); then the earliest known manuscript in Greek prose (late tenth century) of the collections of Aesop by Babrius and the Aesopian fables.”

Two bestiaries, magnificently illuminated, come from the twelfth century when these stories about real and fabulous animals first changed from the ancient Physiologous to the form now known as the bestiary. There are as well monuments of early printing and illustration, like the Zainer Aesop of 1476, Der Ritter vom Turn (1493) with woodcuts by Durer, the first illustrated printed edition of the Gesta Romanorum (in Dutch, 1481) and Valentin et Orson (Lyon, 1489)--each of these books is unique in America. From works like these, the earliest children's fables and romances and courtesy books are drawn.

After beastiaries and Aesop there is the unique copy of what is thought to be the first edition of the earliest known book printed for children: Les Contenances de la Table (Lyon, about 1487). You will see also what is probably the single most famous work in all of children’s literature, the only manuscript known (1695) of Perraults’ Contes de Ma L’Oye (“Mother Goose”), that one presented to Mademoiselle, the spirited young niece of Louis XIV. There are the first printed ABC’s and gammars, the first miniature Bible for children—each of these a nearly unique copy. There is the only extant copy of the first book about Tom Thumb, which seems to be the earliest surviving printed English nursery tale.

The chief treasures of later children’s literature go on and on, frequently with original manuscripts and drawings as well as the first edition of the printed book: A Christmas Carol, Lear’s Book of Nonsense, Saint-Exupery’s Le Petit Prince. We shall see illustrated letters in which Beatrix Potter conceived the story of Peter Rabbit. There is a legendary rarity like the first edition (1865) of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, with some of the original drawings. Frank Bawm’s Wizard of Oz is shown, and Pinocchio, as it first appeared in a periodical. The work of Hans Christian Andersen has been selected from a complete set of the first editions of his fairy tales and from several manuscripts of these tales his poems , and dozens of his autograph letters.

You will not, however, find every favorite story for children or all of the major illustrators of children’s literature before World War I. But we have striven to indicate the variety of children’s literature in all of Europe, England and America, and the achievement over the centuries in writing and illustrating such stories. As you observe, the history of children’s literature you will detect the feud, particularly in Great Britain and America, from the seventeenth century well into the nineteenth between the Puritans or the moralists and the romancers, ballad lovers, and weavers of fairy tales. In the early period we find someone like Bunyan writing “A Caution to Stir Up to Watch Against Sin”; later we have Hannah More, Mrs.Trimmer, Mrs. Barbauld, and others, mostly gentlewomen, producing moral tales of unctuous edification. It took many years before the point of view of a man like Dr.Johnson’s conversation is recorded (in 1780) in which he says,

‘Lady Rothes spoke of the advantages children now derived from the little books published purposely for their instruction. Johnson converted it, asserting that at an early age it was better to gratify curiosity with wonders than to attempt planting truth, before the mind was preproved to receive it, and that therefore Jack the Giant-killer, Parismus and Parismenes, and the Seven Champions of Christendom were fitter for them than Mrs.Barbold and Mrs.Trimmer.’

About twenty years later, Charles Lamb, himself a writer of delightful stories for children, wrote to Samuel Taylor Coleridge (23, October 1802):
’ “Goody Two Shoes” is almost out of print. Mrs. Barbould’s stuff has banished all the old classics of the nursery; and the shopman at Newbery’s hardly deigned to reach them off an old asked for them. Mrs.B.’s and Mrs. Trimmer’s nonsense lay in piles around.”
Thomas Boreman was one of the first entrepreneurs to respond to the market with his miniature books entitled Gigantick Histories (1740–43) as well as other illustrated books on subjects such as natural history. A writer as well as London bookseller, Boreman regarded as the most important children's publisher before John Newbery. What little is known about Boreman has been inferred from internal evidence in the publications he issued sporadically, which included songbooks, political satires, and a pamphlet on the culture of the silkworm, which he also wrote. 
Boreman's other contribution to children's nonfiction was the Gigantick Histories (1740–1743), a ten-volume series of miniature guidebooks to St. Paul’s, Westminster Abbey, the Tower, the Monument, and Guildhall. Each volume was a pleasingly varied miscellaneous material carefully compiled to delight and instruct its readers, as well as to instill pride in British achievements in peace and in war. Precise descriptions of architectural features might alternate with thrilling true stories, helpful information about guides and admissions fees, and brief lives of the admirals who defended British liberty and are buried in Westminster Abbey, as well as works by young readers. Boreman's presentation of the Gigantick Histories—small, generously illustrated volumes whose bindings of Dutch floral paperboards distinguished them from books for adults—was unprecedented, and probably influenced John Newbery when he launched his line of children's books a few years later. The Gigantick Histories is now recognized as a key source in reconstructing the audience of the innovative juveniles of the early eighteenth century, because the volumes were published by subscription and thus contain lists of the purchasers’ names, many of whom have now been identified along with the professions of their fathers.
Boreman published three volumes of natural history, which were among the first of their kind: A Description of 300 Animals (1730), and two supplements, A Description of a Great Variety of Animals (1736) and A Description of Some Curious and Uncommon Creatures (1739). Their compiler argued that natural history was an ideal subject for young readers because its complexity could pique curiosity and command attention over time without growing stale. The illustrated descriptions of mammals, birds, fish, snakes, and insects, which were intended to introduce children to the wonders of God's creation and to recent advances in biology, were compiled from reputable sources such as Topsell’s History of Four-Footed Beasts (1607), Hooke’s Micrographia (1668), Willughby’s Ornithology (1678), Tyson’s Orang-outang (1699), and Merian’s Insects of Surinam (1705). Thomas Bewick, who read the 300 Animals as a boy, called it “a wretched composition” that was partly responsible for his attempting natural history illustration. Whatever its faults, the 300 Animals proved a steady seller, and was revised in 1812 by A. D. McQuinn, newly illustrated by Robert Williams.
The most important of the early publishers was John Newbery (1713–67). Newbery ran his London bookshop from 1745 to 1767, publishing vast quantities of children's literature of all types as well as a wide range of books on reading, philosophy, and science, most covered in flowered and gilt Dutch paper and enlivened by simple woodcut illustrations. His first children's book was A Little Pretty Pocket Book (1744), and one of the most popular was his 1765 History of Little Goody Two Shoes, regarded as the first novel written specifically for children (it is said to have been written for Newbery by Oliver Goldsmith).
Although children's literature had its beginnings in the early seventeenth century, with books intended to teach rather than to amuse, it was not until the mid-eighteenth century that books intended specifically for children books began to emerge. By the nineteenth century there was an established market for children's books and a need for illustrators of these books. George Cruickshank was perhaps the best-known illustrator in Britain in the early nineteenth century. Among his expansive portfolio are his illustrations for the first English edition of Brothers Grimm's fairy tales.

Most illustrated books produced in the early years of the nineteenth century contained wood engravings; By the 1860s color printing was in widespread use. Chromolithography had been used some time but the images printed in this way were often garish and unappealing, and, later, the introduction of photographic processes had a significant impact on illustration.

Alois Senefelder, the inventor of lithography, introduced the subject of colored lithography in his 1818 Vollstaendiges Lehrbuch der Steindruckerey (A Complete Course of Lithography), where he told of his plans to print using color and explained the colors he wished to be able to print someday.
 Although Senefelder recorded plans for chromolithography, printers in other countries, such as France and England, were also trying to find a new way to print in color. Godefroy Engelmann of Mulhouse in France was awarded a patent on chromolithography in July 1837,  but there are disputes over whether chromolithography was already in use before this date, as some sources say, pointing to areas of printing such as the production of playing cards

A further technical development was the introduction of offset printing, a commercial variation of the lithographic process, in the 1920s. Offset printing offered several advantages: the reproduction of very fine lines, a wide variety of paper stock could be used and original artwork did not have to be reversed prior to reproduction. Offset printing allowed for variations in the placement of text and illustration, resulting in an increased integration between image and text.

The first lithographic offset printing press was created in England around 1875 and was designed for printing on metal. The offset cylinder was covered with specially treated cardboard that transferred the printed image from the litho stone to the surface of the metal. About five years later, the cardboard covering of the offset cylinder was changed to rubber, which is still the most commonly used material.

The first person to use an offset press to print on paper was most likely American Ira Washington Rubel in 1903 . He got the idea accidentally by noticing that whenever a sheet of paper was not fed into his lithographic press during operation, the stone printed its image to the rubber-covered impression cylinder, and the next impression had an image on both sides: direct litho on the front and an image from the rubber blanket on the back. Rubel then noticed that the image on the back of the sheet was much sharper and clearer than the direct litho image because the soft rubber was able to press the image onto the paper better than the hard stone. He soon decided to build a press which printed every image from the plate to the blanket and then to the paper. Brothers Charles and Albert Harris independently observed this process at about the same time and developed an offset press for the Harris Automatic Press Company soon after.

Harris designed his offset press around a rotary letterpress machine. It used a metal plate bent around a cylinder at the top of the machine that pressed against ink and water rollers. A blanket cylinder was positioned directly below, and in contact with, the plate cylinder. The impression cylinder below pressed the paper to the blanket in order to transfer the image to the sheet (see diagram). While this basic process is still used today, refinements include two-sided printing and web feeding (using rolls of paper rather than sheets).

During the 1950s , offset printing became the most popular form of commercial printing as improvements were made in plates, inks and paper, maximizing the technique's superior production speed and plate durability. Today, the majority of printing, including newspapers, is done by the offset process, although digital printing has greatly increased in popularity due to demand and cost advantages for low quantity runs.

Rare books on natural history, specially written for children, seemed to become more common during the last quarter of the 18th century. The natural History of Birds; Intended for the Amusement and Instruction of children in 1791, by Samuel Galton, who was a member of the Lunar Society, the scientific society which meet at Matthew Boulton's home, Soho House, now a museum open to the public in Birmingham, wrote the natural History of Quadrupeds for the Instruction of Young Persons followed in two volumes in 1801.
Original stories inspired by fairy-tales became the bestsellers. Children in the seventeenth century loved their heroes by strength of arms in those usually 16-page pamphlets, about princesses and the dragons of the Middle Ages much like our modern day comic books. Childr
 could live out their dreams by reading The History of Guy of Warwick, Robin Hood, Friar Bacon, Tom Thumb, Goody Two-Shoes, Red Riding Hood, Blue Beard, Sleeping Beauty, Puss-in-Boots and many others.
Louisa M. Alcott (1832-88) produced Little Women & Good Wives, 1868-69, which ranks number one for juvenile book readers, along with Flower Fable (1848), which was her first book and Hospital Sketches (1863). Francis Hodgson Burnett (1849-1924) wrote her story of Little Lord Fauntleroy (1885- 1886) as a serial in St. Nicholas magazine later in book form. Among Burnett’s other works were That Lass O’ Lowrie's (1877), and Two Little Pilgrims' Progress (1895).
The latter half of the 19th century witnessed the birth of the adventure story for boys. R. M. Ballantyne (1825-94) was the first from 1848 onwards to create straightforward adventure stories set in well-researched factual surroundings. His first book, Hudson Bay, (The Hudson Bay Company Canada, 1848) was privately printed and then came the Snowflakes and Sunbeams; or, The Young Fur Traders (1855), which devoted his writing career to boys' adventure stories, became a highly collectible book with a publication of a hundred. He is remembered best for Coral Island (1858), a book that exerted a strong influence over Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-94). Coral Island enflamed Robert Louis Stevenson’s love for the islands so much that Stevenson wrote, In the South Seas (1896), along with one of his most well-known and certainly best-loved works, Treasure Island, (1883).
Enterprising London publishers ascertained the potential profit of these illustrated books for children. The most famous of these includes Newbery, John Harris and John Marshall. In 1807 Harris published the innovative Butterfly's Ball and the Grasshopper's Feast by William Roscoe, a nonsensical rhymed tale of insects in the woods, which offered pure fantasy unadulterated by moral lessons. Harris continued to publish more standard didactic works as well as fairy tales and nursery rhymes. Marshall's books were published in a variety of forms, including the first infant's libraries, boxed miniature libraries, as well as infant's cabinets, decorated boxes containing small books and pictures. Children's literature at this time ranged from these more expensive editions to the widely published chapbooks, inexpensive pamphlets distributed by peddlers throughout the countryside.
The two most significant genres of eighteenth-century children's literature were the fairy tale and the moral tale. Fairy tales, which had been passed down from generation to generation through oral tradition, were first collected and put into print at the French court of Louis XIV by writers such as the Countess d'Aulnoy, Madame de Villeneuve, and Madame Le Prince de Beaumont. Charles Perrault's 1697 Histoires ou contes du temps passé “Tales of Long Ago,” contain the first written versions of "Cinderella," "Sleeping Beauty," "Red Riding Hood," "Blue Beard," "Hop o' My Thumb," and "Puss in Boots." Perrault's versions of these stories have dominated English and American children's literature since the eighteenth century. The frontispiece of his original edition pictured an old woman telling stories to a group of children, with the inscription Contes de ma mère l'oye ("Tales of mother goose," a French folk expression roughly equivalent to "old wives' tales"). This was the first appearance of the character who would later be associated with nursery rhymes when the Newbery firm attached the name to a collection published under the title Mother Goose's Melody; or, Sonnets for the Cradle.
Fairy tales, as well as popular adventure tales such as Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe (1719), often engendered criticism in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Sarah Trimmer (1741–1810), a noted author of moral lesson books, denounced "imaginary beings for children" in her 1773 review of Mother Bunch's Fairy Tales. Indeed, though numerous chapbook editions of Perrault were published throughout the eighteenth century, they were generally overshadowed by more didactic books that dealt with issues of morality or religion. It was not until well into the nineteenth century that fairy tales came to dominate the children's book market.
Moral or cautionary tales, in which good children were rewarded and bad children were appropriately punished, were generally of less interest with regard to illustrations than were fairy tales. Many were religious tracts written under the influence of Anglican Evangelicals, and they were published in great number throughout the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, by firms such as Newbery and Marshall. The proliferation of editions of such books as Isaac Watts's Divine Songs (1715) testifies to the enduring popularity of works that put religious lessons into a more enjoyable form. Among the most notable women authors of devotional literature or moral tales in England were Trimmer, Anna Laetitia Barbauld (1743–1825), and Mary Martha Sherwood (1775–1851).
Movable parts appeared in scientific books as early as the sixteenth century, but not until the mid-eighteenth century were movable books conceived as entertainment for children or adults. The toy trade also became increasingly important as the children's market grew. The harlequinade, a type of novelty book named after theatrical pantomimes featuring the harlequin in a leading role, was invented around 1765 by London bookseller Robert Sayer. Composed of a single sheet of paper with illustrations on flaps that open to reveal another picture below, the harlequinade immediately became immensely popular. Also related to the theater were juvenile drama sheets, printed sheets of scenery and characters out of which children created their own miniature theaters, the earliest of which date to about 1810. Around the same time the London firm of S. and J. Fuller invented the paper doll. These loosely inserted cutout figures with removable heads were accompanied by stories in verse, the most famous of which was Little Fanny (1810). Fuller was also among the earliest publishers of peep shows, books that open to form a hinged tunnel for viewing, which were inspired by traveling peep shows. Other firms soon joined the scenic book trade, the most notable of which were Dean and Son and the German publishers Raphael Tuck and Ernest Nister. Nister's most important contribution was the dissolving picture book, in which the sheets were cut horizontally or into a circle so that a new scene could be revealed by pulling a tab.

Lothar Meggendorfer (1847–1925) illustrated, designed, and engineered the most elaborate and intricate movable books of the century, primarily during the 1880s and 1890s. Though he was also a popular magazine illustrator, his reputation today is based on his mechanical picture books for children, and he is considered the creator of the modern movable toy book. Beginning in the late 1880s and through the 1890s, his books enjoyed great popularity and were published in a variety of editions and languages. He produced books with movable figures operated by interconnected cardboard pieces sandwiched between sheets of paper, transformation pictures with interchangeable segmented parts, books with pop-up designs, and large unfolding books such as his 1899 Das Puppenhaus (The dollhouse). The technical wizardry of these books remains unequaled.
World War I brought an end to the publication of movable books and their importation to England from Germany, and the lack of fine printing facilities in England and the United States led to a decline in the movable book trade. The emergence of the pop-up book came after the war, however, and this simplified version of its nineteenth-century predecessor has endured throughout this century.
The nineteenth century witnessed the institutionalization of the idea of childhood as a period distinct from adulthood and as a time to be enjoyed, at least by prosperous middle-class Victorians. During the latter half of the century many of the classics of children's literature in English appeared, including Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865), Louisa May Alcott's Little Women (1868–69), Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island (1883), Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884), and Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book (1894). This period also saw the emergence of the picture book, in which the illustrations—and the artist's vision—were at least as important as the text. No longer anonymous, artists were aided by technical advances in printing and a growing middle-class market for books.
Late in the eighteenth century illustrations by Thomas Bewick (1753–1828) and William Blake (1757–1827) began to appear in British children's books, laying the foundation for the practice of commissioning well-known artists to illustrate texts. Still, such high-quality illustrations remained the exception rather than the rule. Until the mid-nineteenth century most books were printed in black-and-white, primarily in the medium of wood engraving, with the only color provided by the laborious and expensive process of hand-coloring. After mid-century color printing was prevalent in children's books, though many artists preferred the more reliable methods of black-and-white printing until the 1870’s.
English caricaturist George Cruikshank (1792–1878) made some of the most influential illustrations of the century when he created etchings for the 1823 German Popular Stories (see fig. 23, cat. no. 302), the first English translation of the celebrated collection of folk tales published in German several years earlier by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. William Thackeray declared Cruikshank's illustrations to be "the first real, kindly, agreeable and infinitely amusing and charming illustrations in a child's book in England." Cruikshank continued to influence the genre of children's books with his illustrations for Charles Dickens's novels as well as his retellings of favorite tales to emphasize his temperance beliefs, published in the 1850’s.
In the second half of the nineteenth century technical and artistic innovations led to the emergence of children's book illustration as a major artistic genre. Richard Doyle (1824–83), who contributed illustrations and political caricatures to the British comic journal Punch in the 1840s and 1850s, later became famous for his pictures of elves and fairies in such elaborate works as William Allingham's In Fairyland (1870).
The greatest advances in color printing came with the wood engravings of Edmund Evans and his development of the toy book in the mid-1860s. These thin picture books consisting of eight pages, each printed on only one side, between stiff paper covers, had existed since the beginning of the Victorian era and were published in great numbers by Dean and Son, Routledge, and other firms, but usually without the participation of notable illustrators. Evans succeeded in engaging such major artists as Randolph Caldecott (1846–86), Walter Crane (1845–1915), and Kate Greenaway (1846–1901), engraving and printing the books himself and working with publishers for distribution.
Each of these artists brought a different style to the Evans books. Crane was influenced by William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement as well as by Japanese prints. He illustrated a variety of toy books for Evans, including alphabet books, fairy tales, and nursery rhymes, most published by Routledge before 1876. Caldecott took inspiration from English caricaturists Cruikshank, William Hogarth, and Thomas Rowlandson, and the stories he illustrated consisted primarily of traditional English tales and nursery rhymes. Greenaway—who gained extraordinary popularity with the publication of her first children's book, Under the Window, in 1878—remained adored by the public as well as by influential critic John Ruskin. Often acting as both author and illustrator, she is best known for her idealized illustrations of children in characteristic bonnets and quaint costumes in picturesque settings recalling the English countryside. Books illustrated by these artists were also tremendously popular in the United States, whose own publishing industry had not achieved the high technical standards reflected in English picture books of the period. Evans dominated the industry until his death in 1905, when photographic reproduction processes replaced commercial wood engraving.
Like Doyle, John Tenniel (1820–1914) had also worked for Punch but is best known as the illustrator of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel, Through the Looking Glass (1872). Alice was one of the landmarks of the nineteenth-century fantasy genre, helping to initiate a tradition of fantastical tales with no obvious moral. Working in close collaboration with author Lewis Carroll, Tenniel created illustrations that set the standard for a work that has been interpreted by more than one hundred illustrators since its initial publication.
In this century near-universal literacy in developed countries and technical advances that have made it possible to produce relatively inexpensive high-quality illustrated books have contributed to tremendous growth in children's publishing. Innovations in book printing in the early years of the century, particularly in the use of photography and four-color processing, led to the development of the deluxe gift book, which expanded upon the rich tradition of Edmund Evans. Elaborate watercolors by Edmund Dulac (1882–1953), Kay Nielsen (1886–1957), and Arthur Rackham (1867–1939) in England, and the paintings of Maxfield Parrish (1870–1966) and N. C. Wyeth (1882–1945) in the United States, became the hallmarks of these books, with illustrations printed on special glossy paper and tipped into the pages. The works of Rackham, Dulac, and Nielsen varied in style and inspiration. Rackham emphasized line, using pen and ink with watercolor to create evocative illustrations for fairy tales and other stories. Dulac's and Nielsen's work was noted for its colorism and influences drawn from Eastern artistic sources such as Persian miniatures. A notable example of Nielsen's intricate and exotic style is a suite of watercolor illustrations for a never-published version of One Thousand and One Nights. Public demand for deluxe picture books diminished after World War I. While interest in Rackham's books persisted, younger artists such as Nielsen, who published only four books of fairy tales, never achieved such sustained renown.
Also dating to the early part of the century, books by Beatrix Potter differed in style from the deluxe gift books, and her small, cozy books—designed so that even very young children could comfortably hold them—instead follow the picture book tradition of Caldecott. Her Tale of Peter Rabbit was first privately published by the author in 1901, with a colored frontispiece and other illustrations in black-and-white, but was soon followed by numerous editions with full-color plates.
In the United States early twentieth-century color printing technology made the simple black-and-white illustrations favored by Pyle and his contemporaries seem outmoded. W. W. Denslow's illustrations for L. Frank Baum's Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900) included one hundred two-color images and twenty-four full-color plates, making it one of the most elaborate books of its time. Many illustrators continued to explore the possibilities of black-and-white, however. For example, Wanda Gág's creative integration of line illustration and text in Millions of Cats (1928) made her the first important American author-illustrator.
The earliest picture books by Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, date from the 1930s and also reflect the importance of the author-illustrator in twentieth-century children's books. Geisel was a former magazine cartoonist, and his preliminary drawings reveal a complex process of merging text and illustration to create his witty and lively "logical nonsense". Lucille and Holling C. Holling's books of the 1940s evince a nostalgia for preindustrialized America, with rich illustrations and texts focusing on the country's natural resources and on Native Americans' interactions with the environment.
Children's literature today is comparable to popular adult literature in its range and diversity of genres, with books designed for readers at every stage of development, from infancy to young adulthood. The continued vitality of children's publishing, despite competition from a host of newer media, suggests that the illustrated storybook remains unparalleled in its ability to nurture the imagination and to provide both instruction and delight.

Histories of literature seldom mention books written primarily for children, except when in cases like ‘Tales from Shakespeare’ and ‘The Rose and the Ring’ they represent amiable eccentricities on the part of writers famous for other and adult works. Essentially, children’s literature is discounted unless the author is famous for a different, adult work.

There are books for adults which were adapted for children: above all, Aesop, the beasiaries, and mediaeval romances; Pilgim’s Progress, Robinson Crusoe, and Gulliver’s Travels but also Lord Chesterfield’s Letters, Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa, and Fielding’s Tom Jones.

The first flourishing of books for children came in England about the middle of the eighteenth century with booksellers like Thomas Boreman in the seventeen forties; then John Newbery and his successors, the two Francis Newberys and Elizabeth Newbery; John Marshall; the firm of Darton and Harvey; and John Harris, who had been the manager of Elizabeth Newbery’s shop. At the end of that century in England we find Thomas Bewick, the first man in modern times to earn his living by illustrating books, many of them for children; and the artist and poet William Blake, who first yoked picture and poem in his own inimitable way in ‘Songs of Innocence’.

For many of the types of literature discussed in our text you will find that the English books from 1740 to 1820 are pivotal works in the change from primitive fable or romance to the modern children’s story and twentieth century illustration. This revolution in children’s literature in England in the 18th century, as Professor Plumb writes, created a union of easy comprehension and delightful contents, and the marriage of text and illustration, which, like all true marriages, has proved indissoluble.

No comments:

Post a Comment