Twentieth-Century Core Module Reading List

Prospective applicants please note: do see for further information on how and why to apply to the M(Res.) in Children’s Literature at the University of Reading the CIRCL web-page on how to apply.

‘Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Children’s Literature’ Reading List

This module aims to explore a selection of children’s fiction, poetry and picture-books, and introduce students to a wide range of twentieth-century children’s literature. It also considers different critical approaches to children’s literature and addresses questions that recur throughout the MA degree: e.g. what is children’s literature?  How do texts relate to history and national and cultural identity?  How are critical ideas about genre related to children’s literature?  What is the relevance of contemporaneity to ideas about children’s literature and how does children’s literature relate to categories of high and popular culture?

The module is divided into two parts: the first covers the period roughly from 1900 to 1950, the second part covers the period from 1950 to the present. In the first part the discussion will Graduate Centre on authors such as Kenneth Grahame, Beatrix Potter, J. M. Barrie, Frances Hodgson Burnett, A. A. Milne, E. Nesbit, and J. R. R. Tolkien. The majority of the texts studied will be British, though works by American, Australian, New Zealand and European writers (in translation) may also be included.

For the second part of the unit, students and tutors together negotiate the content of the syllabus.

This is a preliminary reading list of primary texts only.  Students wishing to prepare for the course in advance are recommended to read the books mentioned in section A below.

Section A: Twentieth (and Twenty-first) Century Children’s Literature, Autumn Term Reading List

(Texts arranged approximately in the order in which they’ll be studied)

C. S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
J. M. Barrie, Peter and Wendy (There are many variants of this text, published under different titles, so please read either the Puffin Classics edition of Peter Pan or the Oxford World’s Classics edition of Peter and Wendy which is published with Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens
Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows
A. A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner
Beatrix Potter, The Tale of Jemima Puddleduck and the Tale of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle
Henry Williamson, Tarka The Otter Please note this text may be taught in 2018-19 instead in Spring Term!
Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden
Arthur Ransome, Swallows and Amazons
Eve Garnett, The Family from One End Street Please note this text may be taught in 2018-19 instead in Spring Term!
E. Nesbit, The Railway Children

(note: the authors and titles will vary slightly, depending in part upon which additional [options] courses are chosen)

Section B: Spring Term Reading List

In the second part of the course, covering the period 1950 to the present day, texts are chosen by the students and tutors together.

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