Literature For Children Analysis

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David Russell in Literature for Children: A Short Introduction (1946) makes an interesting point when he traces the origin of children’s literature to that of literature itself. He assumes that since all literature began orally, children’s literature too began its journey in the rudimentary beginnings of literature itself. His assumption is that all Greek and Roman children would have known Homer, Virgil or Ovid and this proves children’s enjoyment of adventures and fantasies. The middle Ages saw the predominance of the Christian church and education was largely under the control of the church. However, education was available only to the privileged few and books were scarce and expensive. Children’s Literature in the Context of India: Like…show more content…
The child that we find in these descriptions is more of a wish fulfilment–a couple’s or more often a father’s–longing for progeny that carries the lineage forward (implying therefore a son more than a daughter). Literature, thereby joy of a father who realizes his dream of parental happiness through his off-spring. The child is thus more of an object of adoration rather than an individual with the capacity to feel or react; its separate identity is never carved out of that of its parents, more importantly that of its father. King Rama’s love for his two sons Lava and Kusha and Prabhakarvardhan’s love for his son, Harsha, are beautifully rendered in verses by Bhavabhuti and Banbhatta respectively. It is only in Kalidasa that we find any mention of the love and affection of a father for his girl child in the depiction of sage Kanva’s love for his daughter Shakuntala. Not only Sanskrit literature but medieval regional literatures like Hindi also abound with rich accounts of children and childhood. The Bhakti movement, particularly the songs of Surdasa on Krishna’s childhood and that of Tulsidasa on Rama’s childhood, portray a detailed description of childhood, especially that of the male child. These verses provide a fertile ground for an understanding of the Hindu notions of childhood and visualizing it as the parameter of a concept of a utopian childhood universally acknowledged. In other

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