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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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Acknowledgements xi

Extract

Acl~nowledgements I am very grateful to the staff of the Kobe College Library (in Japan}, the British Library, and the Walton-on-Thames Public Library (in Surrey, England), who have given me friendly and quite indispensable service over the years; also, to Mika Fujita and Noriko Kawai of the Kobe College Computer Centre, for helping me with the final draft of my typescript. Thanks are due, too, to the students who have contributed so enthusiasti- cally to my nineteenth-century literature and children's litera- ture seminars at Konan University and Kobe College, Japan, and King's College, London. For the use of material from my own earlier articles in this area I am grateful to the editors of English Studies and The Vic- torian Newsletter. Early versions of parts of this book have also appeared in Kobe College Studies, and Women's Studies Forum (published by Kobe College). I am happy to acknowledge the useful advice which I received from Regina Hewitt on the first submission of the typescript. On a more personal note, I thank my sons, Nigel and Robin, for developing their keyboarding skills on early drafts of this work in their summer holidays, and for never (or hardly ever!) complaining about it. As usual, the long-suffering husband comes last when he should definitely come first: without Amitav's constant encouragement, this book would never have been successfully completed. This page intentionally left blank

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