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Gender in children’s literature in Europe

Heywood, S. ORCID: (2020) Gender in children’s literature in Europe. Encyclopédie d'histoire numérique de l'Europe. ISSN 2677-6588

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The notion that girls and boys should read different books was a key feature in the development of the specialised children’s publishing industry in Europe from the 18th century onwards. The mid-19th century witnessed the emergence of a strict gender demarcation, thanks to publishers seeking to segment a growing market, but also a product of the rise of the bourgeois moral order, which stimulated a demand for gender differentiated education and reading matter. Still, we can find many examples of children resisting such restrictions. Writing for children became an important source of income for women as well as an outlet for female creativity, and women have featured amongst the best-known authors of the European tradition. In the twentieth century feminism had an important impact on children’s book publishing and criticism. The Franco-Italian partnership ‘dalla parte delle bambine’/ ‘du côté des petites filles’ pioneered militant feminist books in Europe in the 1970s. In the 21st century internet activism has led to heightened awareness of the importance of diversity in children’s books, but gender differentiation remains firmly entrenched.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > Languages and Cultures > French
Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Centre for Book Cultures and Publishing (CBCP)
ID Code:111213
Publisher:Sorbonne Universite

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