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Children’s literature

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Origin of children’s literature
Children’s literature is a literary genre that appeals to children, although many books within the genre are also enjoyed by teenagers and adults. Because of the difficulty in defining children’s literature, it is also difficult to trace its history to a precise starting point. In 1658 Jan Ámos Komenský published the illustrated informational book Orbis Pictus; it’s considered to be the first picture book published specifically for children. John Newbery’s 1744 publication of A Little Pretty Pocket-Book, sold with a ball for boys or a pincushion for girls, is considered a landmark for the beginning of pleasure reading marketed specifically to children. As far as folktales are concerned the Brothers Grimm; Jakob and Wilhem of the early nineteenth century were responsible for the writing down and preserving of the oral tradition. Previous to Newbery, literature marketed for children was intended to instruct the young, though there was a rich oral tradition of storytelling for children and adults.
Up to the Georgian era there were no books at all for children or the poor, excepting the class-books containing old ballads, such as Chevy Chase, and short tales, such as The King and the Cobbler, Whittington and his Cat. The modern literary critic considers the essential character of “Literature”, reason why today it is excluded, of the basically moral or educative texts. This is recently and almost unpublished conception in the History of Literature.
The Children’s Literature has been growing as the conception of the childhood like a stage of the own and specific human development. In the Middle era a notion of the childhood like differentiated period and needed of specific works didn’t exist, reason why it does not exist either, properly, an infantile Literature. That does not mean that the minors did not have literary experience, but that this was not defined in terms differentiated from the adult experience.


Mystical functions of children’s literature
The concept of infantile Literature is delayed. The existence of a Literature specifically destined to a public of children’s and adolescent is an own phenomenon of the modern world, arises at the end of XVIII century and actually its still in expansion phase, is in the last decades of our century when the books for babies and the novel have been created.
One of the functions of children’s and youthful Literature is the access to the imaginative thing formed by Literature. The imaginary term describes the immense repertoire of symbolic images that appear in the folklore and lived in the Literature of all the times. It’s about images, symbols and myths that the humans we used like formulas to understand the world and the relations with other people. Infantile Literature also supposes that children have the possibility of narrative and poetic learning’s models of the own Literature of their culture. The analysis of how this learning takes place has been a little boarded field until now in the studies of children’s and youthful Literature that have been dedicated to analyze the values transmitted by stories, therefore it has theorized on which it is suitable for moral formation of the childhood, as soon as nobody seems to have done on which it is consequent for his literary education. This can inspire different activities that will have like center the language that offers to the boy an immense field for game which it makes contact with enemy, with him and adopts strategies to conquer.


Compare folk stories (oral traditions) and literature stories.
There are two great types of stories:
The popular story: is old such as humanity. Also it’s known as legend, although this last one is rather related to a person or a determined community, with a monument, a place or an event whose origin tries to explain (etymological legend).
The popular stories folkloric characteristics:
– They are transmitted of oral form.
– They are of universal character, are from the antiquity everywhere.
– They are very similar everywhere, with regard to the structural aspects of importance.
– A succession of episodes is narrated, whose order cannot change.
– The episodes are subordinated to the personage.
– Usually one locates the action in a distant space and time.
– An impersonal character, made in a simple form of expression exists in them.
– Everything is surrounded by a wonderful vision, where the reality is put under a popular moral.


The literary or modern story: it’s the story that is transmitted by means of the writing. The stories of written transmission are generally in prose. The author usually is known. This type of story is of Eastern origin.
The literary or artistic story characteristics:
– It has a unique version, fixed by the writing.
– Usually narrates an only event, frequently usually it is more important even than the own personages.
– A personal character exists among them, that makes reference to the own style of the author.
– Their characteristics are very numerous and they are not easily resembles, since this sort is of which more freedom offers to the author.
– It can imply the reader raising to him interrogative, or catch, like in an image, a little while unusual in which as soon as action exists.
– The descriptions usually are not very usual.
– Generally, its extension is short.


Analyze the nature of fantasy written for children
The fantasy not only acts as essential in our lives, because it serves as valve for escaping reality, but also it is the impelling forces that allows to rectify the unsatisfactory reality and to make unfinished desires by means of the dreams.
The playful activity of children, like the fantasy and the invention, is one of the essential sources that allow reaffirming their identity of collective way as much as individual. The other essential source is the discovery of Children’s Literature, whose popular stories, adventures stories, rounds and poetries, helps to recreating and to harness their fantasy.
Infantile Literature, aside from being an authentic and high poetic creation that represents an important part of cultural expression of language and thought, aid powerfully to the ethical and aesthetic formation of the boy, when extending its incipient sensitivity and opening the doors of its fantasy. Nevertheless, as well as the fantasy is a positive power that stimulates the human creativity, is also a dangerous power, mainly, if through her values are raised that break with the moral and ethical norms of a certain society. That is, the fantasy by the fantasy is not any guarantee so that Literature is of by good himself and its constructive aims. The fantasy, like any other human faculty, can be used like a negative resource. This happens, for example, when by a social or racial prejudices literary work project, with the purpose of obtaining objectives that are negative for the social coexistence and the formation of the personality of the boy. Luckily, thanks to the action of the imagination mechanisms, as much the transmitter (author) like the receiver (reader), know that the argument and the personages of a literary work not always correspond to the reality, but to the fantasy of its creator, who, unlike which he happens in the concrete life, determines with his imagination the destiny of the personages, the argument thread, the plot and the outcome of the work. In this case, the fantasy of the author approaches us a new reality that, even being fictitious, has been invented on the base of the uprooted elements of the reality.


In such virtue, the fantasy not only acts as an invaluable in the writer life, but also of the man science. The fantasy proves the thought possibilities, finding new means and making projects that soon will modify with a critical thought. The fantasy is a handle that serves to transform a certain reality and to create a work that not yet exists. Its certain that the popular stories have nursed during centuries the fantasy of adults and young’s, is also certain that the hour has arrived to consider the necessity to forge a specific Literature for children, a Literature that unties the volume of its imagination and it unfolds from simple to complex; opposite case, neither the most beautiful book in world will manage to wake up its interest, if its an abstract language, its intricate syntax and their free content of fantasy. Also, one is due to start off of the beginning that imagination is closely tie to thoughts and also a magical thought of a boy makes of him a excellence poet. The most literary jewels coveted by children are the fantastic stories that narrate histories where the trees dance, the stones run, the rivers sing and the mountains speak. The children feel special fascination by the enchanted castles, the mysterious voices and the magical sticks.
The story, sort in which is possible everything, also has waked up the talent and the creativity of many famous men, and, to illustrate this affirmation, it is worth to remember the anecdote spilled by the North American librarian Virginia Haviland, in the XV International Congress of IBBY, celebrated in Athens in 1976: A day, a distressed mother goes to the father of the Theory of Relativity to request an advice to him: What I must read to my son so he can improves its mathematical faculties and by a man of science? Stories, answered Einstein. Very well, the mother said. But, what else? More stories, talked back Einstein. And after that, the mother insisted. more stories, limited Einstein.
Poets, wise people and children, know the gifts that the popular stories grant to humans so they don’t lose connection with the wonderful world which they had access in a remote time, and which still they continue longing for. Magical dimension to which Alexander Solzhenitsin in his speech of gratefulness by the Nobel Prize of Literature talked about, that was granted to him in 1970: There are things that take to us beyond the world of the words; its such as the small mirror (Alicia would also say watching itself in the mirror invented by Lewis Carrol) of fairy tales: watch ourselves and what sees is not ourselves. For a moment we glimpsed the inaccessible thing, reason why the soul cries out. Finally, nobody knows with certainty in which age, forms or circumstance appears the imagination in a boy. Nevertheless, the appearance of fantasy images, that play a preponderant role in their life, is the result of activity in human brain, composed of two hemispheres that have numerous circumvolutions that put into operation the imagination as much as other psychic processes.


Critical literature

The Princess and the Pea

by Hans Christian Andersen



Once upon a time there was a prince who wanted to marry a princess; but she would have to be a real princess. He travelled all over the world to find one, but nowhere could he get what he wanted. There were princesses enough, but it was difficult to find out whether they were real ones. There was always something about them that was not as it should be. So he came home again and was sad, for he would have liked very much to have a real princess.
One evening a terrible storm came on; there was thunder and lightning, and the rain poured down in torrents. Suddenly a knocking was heard at the city gate, and the old king went to open it.
It was a princess standing out there in front of the gate. But, good gracious! what a sight the rain and the wind had made her look. The water ran down from her hair and clothes; it ran down into the toes of her shoes and out again at the heels. And yet she said that she was a real princess.
Well, we’ll soon find that out, thought the old queen. But she said nothing, went into the bed-room, took all the bedding off the bedstead, and laid a pea on the bottom; then she took twenty mattresses and laid them on the pea, and then twenty eider-down beds on top of the mattresses.
On this the princess had to lie all night. In the morning she was asked how she had slept.
“Oh, very badly!” said she. “I have scarcely closed my eyes all night. Heaven only knows what was in the bed, but I was lying on something hard, so that I am black and blue all over my body. It’s horrible!”
Now they knew that she was a real princess because she had felt the pea right through the twenty mattresses and the twenty eider-down beds.
Nobody but a real princess could be as sensitive as that.
So the prince took her for his wife, for now he knew that he had a real princess; and the pea was put in the museum, where it may still be seen, if no one has stolen it. There, that is a true story.

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___________.WEBSCOLAR. Children’s literature. http://www.webscolar.com/childrens-literature. Fecha de consulta: 14 de abril de 2019.

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