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“Legends Malleable in His Intellectual Furnace”: Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Wonder Book, Mythological Adaptation, and Children’s Literature

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Title: “Legends Malleable in His Intellectual Furnace”: Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Wonder Book, Mythological Adaptation, and Children’s Literature
Author: Horn, Jacob
Advisor: Roberts, Deborah H.; Schönherr, Ulrich; Edmonds, Radcliffe
Department: Haverford College. Dept. of Classics, Bi-College (Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges. Dept. of Comparative Literature
Type: Thesis (B.A.)
Issue Date: 2013
Abstract: Nathaniel Hawthorne’s A Wonder Book for Girls and Boys, published in 1851, occupies an important position in the history of children’s literature because of its novel approach to the adaptation of classical mythology and its attitudes towards children as readers. While myth was commonly presented to children in the form of dictionaries or schoolbooks, Hawthorne was the first to use it as the inspiration for pleasurable storytelling. Writing stories intended for children to enjoy in a non-instructional setting, perhaps even along with their parents, Hawthorne heralded a shift in attitudes towards young readers that helped to define how juvenile literature has been written by future authors. My thesis examines the Wonder Book’s creation and impact from multiple perspectives. Part I, “Juvenile Literature Matures,” provides a basic account of the beginnings of children’s literature and Hawthorne’s history with the juvenile market in order to pinpoint the Wonder Book’s significance. In part II, “The Bright Stuff,” I analyze the author’s use of a frame narrative to effectively address an audience of children and adults, and to realize his goals for the stories. This discussion extends into part III, “Hawthorne’s Pandora, Unboxed,” in which I identify strategies of adaptation employed in the Wonder Book, with a particular focus on its interpretation of the Pandora myth, entitled “The Paradise of Children,” and the episode’s reception of its ancient sources. Part IV, “Beyond Hawthorne’s Intellectual Furnace,” closes the paper with a brief look at Hawthorne’s influence on later authors, who have continued to employ his adaptive strategies as myth has become a widely popular form of storytelling for children.
Subject: Mythology in literature
Subject: Hawthorne, Nathaniel, 1804-1864. Wonder book for girls and boys -- Criticism, textual
Subject: Hawthorne, Nathaniel, 1804-1864 -- Influence
Subject: Children's literature, American -- History and criticism
Terms of Use: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/us/
Permanent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10066/11809

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Citation

Horn, Jacob. "“Legends Malleable in His Intellectual Furnace”: Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Wonder Book, Mythological Adaptation, and Children’s Literature". 2013. Available electronically from http://hdl.handle.net/10066/11809.

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http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/us/ Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/us/

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