In recent years, children's literature has increasingly been
considered by scholars to be an important field of study. The history of
childhood has also been the subject of intense scholarly interest.
However the relationship between these two fields has not been adequately
This thesis assesses the value of English children's literature for
the period 1760-1830, as a resource for the study of childhood at this
time. Three levels of analysis are considered: children's literature and
its relationship to the Romantic imagery of childhood; the experiences of
childhood as portrayed by children's books; the structure of the children's
book trade, including a study of two significant publishers of children's
books, William Godwin and John Harris.
A broad sample of children's books is surveyed in order to test the
hypothesis that children's literature does offer historians a valuable,
and hitherto neglected, resource.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.