Author: Velma Bourgeois Richmond
Category: Literary Criticism
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Knights and ladies, giants and dragons, tournaments, battles, quests and crusades are commonplace in stories for children. This book examines how late Victorians and Edwardians retold medieval narratives of chivalry—epics, romances, sagas, legends and ballads. Stories of Beowulf, Arthur, Gawain, St. George, Roland, Robin Hood and many more thrilled and instructed children, and encouraged adult reading. Lavish volumes and schoolbooks of the era featured illustrated texts, many by major artists. Children’s books, an essential part of Edwardian publishing, were disseminated throughout the English-speaking world. Many are being reprinted today. This book examines related contexts of Medievalism expressed in painting, architecture, music and public celebrations, and the works of major authors, including Sir Walter Scott, Tennyson, Longfellow and William Morris. The book explores national identity expressed through literature, ideals of honor and valor in the years before World War I, and how childhood reading influenced 20th–century writers as diverse as C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Siegfried Sassoon, David Jones, Graham Greene, Ian Fleming and John Le Carré.