J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Lion, the Unicorn, and Didacticism

Today’s Boston 1775 posting is a call for papers from a scholarly journal on children’s literature, with my footnoted comments.

The Lion and the Unicorn, a journal committed to a broad investigation of children’s literature, is inviting submissions for a special issue devoted to the varieties of the didactic in the long eighteenth century.* Didacticism, often considered the dominant literary form of much European and American eighteenth-century children's literature, has been undertheorized.† Possible topics might include:
  • What was the relationship between eighteenth-century pedagogy and didacticism?
  • How did children and adults read didactic texts as quintessentially eighteenth-century readers?
  • What was the relationship between didactic children’s literature and other didactic eighteenth-century genres such as the novel, the sermon, and the conduct book?
  • How were political ideologies, economic theories, and cultures shaped by didacticism during the eighteenth century?
  • What constituted an aesthetics of didacticism during the eighteenth century?
Articles of 12-15 pages should be submitted by March 1, 2008, to the editors for consideration for inclusion in the April 2009 special issue of The Lion and the Unicorn. Essays should be submitted in PDF format using MLA style. Documents should be sent as an e-mail attachment.

Send submissions to:
Pamela Gay-White
Department of Languages and Literatures
Alabama State University


Adrianne Wadewitz
Department of English
Indiana University

* “Long eighteenth century”? C18-L, an academic email list I used to belong to, defined its scope as “the ‘long 18th century,’ which extends roughly from 1660 to 1830.” In other words, from the Restoration in London to the fall of Louis XIV in Paris. Just as the eighteenth century spills over onto either side, that email list spilled over into a blog named Long 18th. In August 2006 its members discussed “How and why do we define the long eighteenth?” Most notable about that interchange is that, out of eighteen comments, only one person actually tried to answer the question. And he ended up deferring to a Norton Anthology.

† Only you can help the undertheorized children of the eighteenth century. Won’t you help?

The picture above shows the unicorn from the Old State House; there’s also a lion, naturally. Clicking on that thumbnail takes you to Prof. Jeffery Howe’s page on eighteenth-century architecture in Boston.

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