chapter  7
15 Pages

‘Binding with Briars’: Romanticizing the Child: Keith O’Sullivan


In Natural Supernaturalism: Tradition and Revolution in Romantic Literature, MH Abrams argues that there was a tendency among writers of the Romantic period (c. 1775-1830) to reinterpret traditional Judeo-Christian patterns of thought-Fall, redemption, and the restoration of Paradise-in a secular context (1971, 67-68).1 In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries one of the more prominent contexts for the revision of Judeo-Christian thinking was the dialectic between childhood innocence and adult experience. Under the broad cultural infl uence of Romantic writers and thinkers, childhood, once barely distinguishable from adolescence and even adulthood, came to be perceived as a unique and distinctive phase in human existence.