Children’s Literature

Children’s literature from any tradition or culture is defined, in part, by its audience—children and youth—and understood to be distinct from adult literature, as children, too, are different from adults. At the same time, children’s literature has never existed apart from adult literature. To give just one example of how children’s literature and adult literature are intertwined, in the 19th-century Anglo-American context many 19th-century authors now considered writers for children were publishing works with a dual audience in mind and much of what one considers to be the classics of the 19th-century American canon, including works by Mark Twain and Louisa May Alcott, was read by a multiaged audience. Thus, the Harry Potter phenomenon of the late 20th century, in which adults have adopted children’s ...

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