ABSTRACT

The astonishing success of J.K. Rowling and other contemporary children's authors has demonstrated how passionately children can commit to the books they love. But this kind of devotion is not new. This timely volume takes up the challenge of assessing the complex interplay of forces that have created the popularity of children's books both today and in the past. The essays collected here ask about the meanings and values that have been ascribed to the term 'popular'. They consider whether popularity can be imposed, or if it must always emerge from children's preferences. And they investigate how the Harry Potter phenomenon fits into a repeated cycle of success and decline within the publishing industry. Whether examining eighteenth-century chapbooks, fairy tales, science schoolbooks, Victorian adventures, waif novels or school stories, these essays show how historical and publishing contexts are vital in determining which books will succeed and which will fail, which bestsellers will endure and which will fade quickly into obscurity. As they considering the fiction of Angela Brazil, Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl and J.K. Rowling, the contributors carefully analyse how authorial talent and cultural contexts combine, in often unpredictable ways, to generate - and sometimes even sustain - literary success.

chapter 1|20 pages

General Introduction

ByM. O. Grenby

part |2 pages

PART I OLD TALES RETOLD

chapter |2 pages

PART I OLD TALES RETOLD Introduction

ByM. O. Grenby

chapter 3|22 pages

Robin Hood in Boys’ Weeklies to 1914

ByKevin Carpenter

chapter 4|18 pages

From Madame d’Aulnoy to Mother Bunch:

chapter 5|12 pages

From Chapbooks to Pantomime

ByGeorge Speaight with Brian Alderson

part |2 pages

PART II FORGOTTEN FAVOURITES

part |2 pages

PART III POPULAR INSTRUCTION, POPULARITY IMPOSED

part |2 pages

PART IV THE FAMOUS THREE: BLYTON, DAHL AND ROWLING