Fall 2009

HUMS 609
Children's Literature


09/26/2009 - 10/12/2009
Note: Special Schedule 09:00 AM - 05:00 PM

285 Court Street

Stories told to children have an ancient history, dating back to orally transmitted folktales, myths, and legends. They have many different aims: they are variously intended to teach, amuse, and give moral guidance. By the 1700s, children's literature was an active category in the publishing industry, and books intended specifically for children were being written and published. The 1800s are a kind of "Golden Age" of children's literature; it saw the publication of some of the titles we now regard as "classics": The Wind in the Willows, Tom Sawyer, Alice in Wonderland, Little Women, Peter Pan, and so on.

In this course, we will begin with the history of children's literature, and during the course of the term, read and analyze classic fairy tales, classic boys' stories and classic girls' stories, and contemporary tales, including some that attempt to revise in the direction of racial/ethnic/gendered diversity. Peter Hunt's Children's Literature, an Illustrated History will provide the historical overview with which we will begin. Maria Tatar's Classic Fairy Tales will give us several versions of these stories, including Charles Perrault, the Brothers Grimm, and Hans Christian Andersen, as well as examples of some of their famous illustrators. Bruno Bettelheim's classic study of the psychological value of these tales in the formation of the child will provide one means of interpretation, supplemented by Jack Zipes' Fairy Tales and the Art of Subversion, which discusses them in the framework of class and economics. From the fairy tales, we will move to the Golden Age of children's literature and some contemporary classics: Peter Pan, Tom Sawyer, Little Women, Harry Potter, and The Golden Compass. We will end the course with an examination of some revisionary texts, including Lemony Snicket's The Bad Beginning, the first of his series A Series of Unfortunate Events.

Texts for this course may include: Peter Hunt, Children's Literature, an Illustrated History; Maria Tatar, Classic Fairy Tales; Bruno Bettelheim, Uses of Enchantment; Jack Zipes, Fairy Tales and the Art of Subversion; J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan; Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer; Louisa May Alcott, Little Women; J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone; Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass; Lemony Snicket, The Bad Beginning.

Course tuition: $2022.

This course is not open to auditors.

Indira Karamcheti B.A., M.A., Ph.D. University of California, Santa Barbara) is associate professor of English and American Studies. Her teaching and research interests include postcolonial literature and theory, the literature of the South Asian diaspora, and the writing of ethnic and racial minorities in the U.S. She has written on such authors as Salman Rushdie, Anita Desai, Simone Schwarz-Bart, and Aime Cesaire. Click here for more information about Indira Karamcheti and click here for more information about her work.


Consent of Instructor Required: No

Format: Seminar

Level: GLSP Credits: 3 Enrollment Limit: 18

Texts to purchase for this course:
Louisa May Alcott, LITTLE WOMEN (Oxford University Press), Paperback

J.M. Barrie, PETER PAN (Puffin), Paperback

M.O. Grenby & Andrea Immel, THE CAMBRIDGE COMPANION TO CHILDREN'S LITERATURE (Cambridge University Press), Paper

Philip Pullman, THE GOLDEN COMPASS (Turtleback), Paperback

J.K. Rowling, HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE (Scholastic), Paperback

Lemony Snicket, THE BAD BEGINNING (Harper Trophy), Paperback

Maria Tatar, CLASSIC FAIRY TALES (W.W. Norton), Paperback

Mark Twain, THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER (Vintage), Paperback


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