Childhood Studies: A Reader in Perspectives of Childhood

Childhood Studies: A Reader in Perspectives of Childhood

Childhood Studies: A Reader in Perspectives of Childhood

Childhood Studies: A Reader in Perspectives of Childhood

Synopsis

This text brings together a variety of perspectives on the study of childhood, how it has been treated historically and how such a concept is developing as we move into a new century.

Excerpt

In all the books I had read childhoods were either idyllic or deprived. Mine had been neither.

(Alan Bennett, Writing Home, 1994)

The glossy, collage-like cover of a book by Colin and Tim Ward, Images of Childhood in Old Postcards (1991), has thirteen representations showing one or more children. Eleven of these representations are photographs, one is a painting and one is a cartoon. This last is in the style of Lucie Mabel Atwell and shows a ginger-headed, short-trousered, pink-faced, wide-eyed young boy washing his hands in a bowl of water, while looking out at us, half, it seems, in anticipation or hope or approval. The painting is in the colours, if not the sentiment, of Newlyn painter Walter Langley and presents a young 1930s schoolboy, with cap set at a relaxed if not quite rakish angle, sitting with his back to a wall, smiling as he reads his rather dog-eared copy of Tit Bits (the children’s magazine, not the later saucy newspaper).

Of the eleven remaining representations, one tinted photograph has a young female child in early Victorian dress playing mother (albeit balanced on a chair for the purpose), as she washes the hair of her younger brother who is bent over a bowl

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