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Scottish Children’s Literature in the Long Nineteenth Century

Occasional Papers series No. 23

Edited by Sarah Dunnigan
and Shu-Fang Lai

Published in: Paperback.
By: Scottish Literature International, Glasgow, June 2019.
Price: £22.95 / €25.95
USA $29.95
ISBN 9781908980298

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This volume of twenty essays presents a unique insight into the world of Scottish children’s literature throughout the long nineteenth century. From periodicals to poetry, chapbooks to fairy tales, short stories to plays, it reveals the richness and diversity of writing for children in this period. As well as revisiting much-loved authors such as Stevenson, Barrie, and MacDonald, it explores the neglected role of women writers in shaping the inheritance of Scottish children’s literature, as well as the significant contribution of Gaelic writers, and the role of folklore and tradition. Essays also examine the significance of children as literary protagonists, and as readers themselves. In recovering these marginal voices and texts, and in showing how well-known stories explore questions of culture, identity, and language, The Land of Story-Books seeks to restore the traditions of children’s writing to the heart of Scottish literary history.


  • Introduction (Sarah Dunnigan)

    I: Constructions of Childhood

  • Educating the Female Child: Debates from the Scottish Periodical Press in Enlightenment Scotland, 1750–1800 (Rhona Brown)
  • The Young Person’s Sir Walter: Scott and the Nineteenth-Century Child Reader (Paul Barnaby)
  • ‘Entertaining and Instructing Histories’: Children’s Chapbook Literature in the Nineteenth Century (Valentina Bold)
  • Nature versus Nurture: Robert Chambers as a Writer for Children (Shu-Fang Lai)
  • The Scottish Nursery Muse: Scottish Poetry and the Children’s Verse Tradition in the Victorian Period (Kirstie Blair)
  • Gaelic Tradition and the Celtic Revival in Children’s Literature in Scottish Gaelic and English (Sìm Innes and Kate Louise Mathis)

    II: Romance, Adventure, and Imperialism

  • Historical Facts and ‘Romantic Daring’: Thomas Nelson & Sons, the Adventure Tale, and the Late-Victorian Education Market (Anne Marie Hagen)
  • Symbolism and Empire: Stevenson, Scott, and Toy Soldiers (Adam Kozaczka)
  • The Darkening Island: Stevenson, Barrie, and the Perils of Childhood (Timothy S. Hayes)
  • Colonising Neverland: British Motherhood as Imaginative Play in J. M. Barrie’s Peter and Wendy (Rodney M. D. Fierce)
  • ‘Staunch little democrat that he was’: Humanitarian Sentiment, Social Reform, and Political Idealism in Eleanor Atkinson’s Greyfriars Bobby (David Salter)

    III: Child’s Play

  • Youthful Visionaries in Margaret Oliphant’s Fin-de-Siècle Fiction (Anne Stapleton)
  • A Scottish Child’s Memento Mori: Language, Folklore, and Landscape in George MacDonald’s Ranald Bannerman’s Boyhood (J. Patrick Pazdziora)
  • Betwixt-and-Between: Barrie, Shakespeare and Playing at Childhood (Caitlin R. Hansen)

    IV: Moral and Spiritual Fictions

  • Two Telling Tales: Didacticism as a Means of Feminine Empowerment in Catherine Sinclair’s Holiday House and Dinah Mulock Craik’s Alice Learmont (Linda Claridge Middup)
  • Romance, Death, and other Predicaments: Guidance for the Young in the Fiction of Mary Gordon (Mrs Disney Leith) (Janet Powney and Jeremy Mitchell)

    V: Fairytale and Fantasy

  • Unlocking Scottish Balladry and Folklore in George MacDonald’s ‘The Golden Key’ (Linden Bicket)
  • ‘A great, unlimited world’?: Imaginative Locations in the Fairy Tales of Jessie Saxby and Violet Jacob (Sarah Dunnigan)
  • ‘To Children and Others’: Audience, Advertising, and the Reception of Andrew Lang’s Fairy Books (1889–1910) (Sara M. Hines)

    VI: Children’s Books in the Archive

  • ‘It is lovely to be five’: Children’s Books In the Archives (Lyn Stevens, Danielle Howarth, Morgan Boharski, Joanna Witkowska)
  • Notes on Contributors
  • Index


Cover image: illustration by Jessie Wilcox Smith (1863–1935) for “Picture-Books in Winter”, from A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1905).


Last updated 17 July 2019.