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The Happy Island

Images of Childhood in the Eighteenth-Century French "Théâtre d'Education</I>


James Herbert Davis Jr.

This study is the first to examine in a systematic manner the image of childhood that emerges from one of the earliest manifestations of juvenile literature, the eighteenth-century French théâtre d'éducation. As cultivated by a dozen or so authors between 1769 and 1800, it was a sub-genre intended to amuse as well as instruct, a stage not only with children but for children. In creating what is perhaps the most important literary image of childhood in their era, these dramatists relied not only on their adult visualizations, but also on the optimistic vision of an age affected by new moral and sentimental demands. Thus they were able to translate their belief in the vital, dynamic quality of youth into an almost pervasive concept: the inherent goodness of children and their ability to perceive the true nature of the world.
Contents: Through plays written specifically for children, the dramatist of the théâtre d'éducation (1769-1800) reveal the optimistic vision of the young person's relation to moral progress, society, and the imaginative world.
This book is intended for graduate and undergraduate students as well as specialists in the area.
This book is the first systematic study of children's theatre in France as developed and cultivated during the last three decades of the eighteenth century.