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Through the Northern Gate

Childhood and Growing Up in British Fiction, 1719-1901

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Jacqueline Banerjee

This study challenges critical orthodoxy by showing that childhood became a focus of interest in British fiction well before the Romantic period. It also argues that children in the Victorian novel, far from being sentimental figures, are psychologically unique and contribute positively and significantly to the narrative discourse. Contemporary ideology, the novelists' autobiographical and humanitarian impulses, and gender issues, are all examined as factors in this development. Works by the major authors are analysed alongside others by non-canonical and children's writers.

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Contents

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Acknowledgements................................................................... x1 List of lllustrations .................................................................... xiii Notes on Editions..................................................................... xv Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xvii Chapter One: The Child and Childhood in the Eighteenth-Century Novel................................................ 1 1. First Steps: Defoe to Fielding............................................ 2 2. False Starts: Tobias Smollett and Laurence Sterne............ 15 Chapter Two: The Child in Early Nineteenth- Century Fiction ................................................................. 21 l.Jane Austen s Children..................................................... 22 2. A New Strain: Sir Walter Scott and George Sand............. 31 3. Early Children's Fiction................................................... 34 Chapter Three: Victorian Childhood and the Novelist's Vision................................................................ 45 1. Victorian Childhood......................................................... 45 2. Sibling Affections............................................................. 54 3. The Forgiving Child........................................................ 61 Chapter Four: Child Death and the Novelist's Purpose .............................................................................. 83 1. Frail Treasures .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85 2. The Novelist's Purpose..................................................... 88 3. "An Interior Confronting"................................................ 97 X Contents Chapter Five: The Girlhood of the Victorian Heroine ......... 109 1. Little Housekeepers . ............................................. .. ... .. ..... 110 2. Intelligent Sisters ............................................................. 120 3. Budding Women .............................................................. 132 Chapter Six: The Struggle for Manhood in Victorian Fiction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149 1. Sons and Heirs ................................................................. 150 2. Youthful Heroics .............................................................. 156 3. Towards "Brave Self-Reliance" ........................................ 164 Chapter Seven: Disclosing Children: Seen and Heard in Victorian Fiction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 179 1. Supporting Roles .............................................................. 180 2. Speaking Parts ................................................................. 187 3. Adions of the Mind .......................................................... 191 Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 205 Chronology ............................................................................... 211 Works Cited .............................................................................. 213 Index .......................................................................................... 235

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