Children's fiction, 1765–1808

by John Carey; Margaret King Moore, Lady Mount Cashell; and Henry Brooke

Anne Markey, editor

Catalogue Price: €19.95
ISBN: 978-1-84682-288-9
Catalogue Price: €45.00
ISBN: 978-1-84682-287-2

April 2011. 190pp; ills.

‘There isn’t much rioting and looting in the three children’s stories collected here under the careful editorship of Anne Markey, but there’s plenty of juvenile delinquency … the authors of these works, published between 1765 and 1808, were addressing broadly similar concerns to today’s commentarial concerns about youth opportunity, the power of aspiration, and how best to bind a potentially mutinous rising generation to the status quo … what is striking about these eighteenth-century children’s books is their optimism. In their world, social mobility is not only possible, but it is eminently desirable … what this collection also charts is the steady commercialization and growing sophistication of the children’s book business … Simply by reprinting these three neglected but captivating texts Markey performs a valuable service … her introduction is admirably clear and impressively informative', Matthew Grenby, Irish Literary Supplement (Spring 2012).

‘A welcome addition to existing scholarship both on Irish children’s literature and Irish fiction of the long 18th century … The volume begins with an able and elegantly-written introduction, which offers essential contextual information for readers who may be unfamiliar with the authors whose works comprise the remainder of the volume … [this book] offers a valuable and timely intervention into modern debates on both children’s fiction and Irish fiction of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. A handsome volume greatly enhanced by the inclusion of illustrations and frontispieces taken from first or early editions of the woks collected in the volume ... I have no doubt that Children’s Fiction, 1765–1808 will prove an extremely attractive as well as accessible work for scholars, students, and general readers alike', Christina Morin, Eighteenth-Century Ireland (2011).

‘[An] elegant and attractively produced volume … appearing as one in a series of volumes dedicated to Early Irish Fiction, c.1680–1820, Markey’s publication concentrates on three writers, selecting for reproduction one particular children’s text from each … additionally, some of the texts’ original title pages, frontispieces and illustrations are reproduced, giving an authentic ‘period’ feel to the volume … seventeen pages of notes clarify many of the allusions found in the texts and are themselves the source of much fascinating and arcane information … when [Markey] addresses in turn and in detail the work of her three writers she skilfully blends biographical and analytical discussion … she succeeds in doing so in a prose style which is totally readable and immediately accessible', Robert Dunbar, Books Ireland (Summer 2011).

‘The texts offer a useful variety of types of children’s fiction: the first two texts exemplify that combination of action-adventure and moralizing that seems particularly characteristic of early children’s fiction; old Daniel’s tales model oral story-telling in written form; and the last section – with its three versions of one story – would allow discussion not just of fables but of adaptation in young people’s literature … the chosen texts certainly indicate diversity in both Irish and young people’s literature of the period', Ann Howey, Bookbird (2012).