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Recovering the story: Modernism and the interwar British children's novel (1918-1939)

Comer, Christopher J. (2013) Recovering the story: Modernism and the interwar British children's novel (1918-1939). Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Although Modernism stands as an undeniably important moment in literary history, few critics have explored its connections to the children’s literature of the interwar period (1918 – 1939). As well, scholarship of children’s literature has been surprisingly silent about the children’s books of the early to mid-twentieth century. This study seeks to address the absence of research on children’s literature during the interwar period by showing how three neglected texts from this era reflect and engage with the aesthetic and political concerns of Modernism. While E.F. Benson’s David Blaize and the Blue Door (1918), John Masefield’s The Midnight Folk (1927), and Eve Garnett’s The Family From One End Street (1937) all appear to be Victorian on the surface, my analysis shows that these texts actually demonstrate a wide range of Modernist techniques and concerns, such as the characterization of mental anxiety, the preservation of individualism in the modernized world, the need to confront a problematic past through story telling, and the authorial focus on creating characters with psychological and emotional depth. In short, this study calls for the further study of the interwar period as a unique moment in the history of children’s literature. By considering these three texts to be Modernist, this thesis broadens the understanding of both children’s literature and the cultural backgrounds of Modernism.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Comer, Christopher J.cjc79@pitt.eduCJC79
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorGubar, Marahmjg4@pitt.eduMJG4
Committee MemberKarin ,
Committee MemberRogers, Gaylegrogers@pitt.eduGROGERS
Committee MemberWeikle-Mills,
Date: 23 January 2013
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 16 November 2012
Approval Date: 23 January 2013
Submission Date: 1 December 2012
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 52
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > English
University Honors College
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: E. F. Benson, John Masefield, Eve Garnett, psychoanalysis, mythic method, Carnegie Medal, interwar children's literature
Date Deposited: 23 Jan 2013 20:39
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:07


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