Date of Award
Campus Access Thesis
English Language and Literatures
Endpaper maps have long been common in the field of children's literature, yet they have received relatively little scholarly attention. In this study, I consider three sets of maps from children's books in relation to their depiction of the British Empire. I begin with geography primers of the early nineteenth century, concentrating on Isaac Taylor's travel series, which includes Scenes in England and Scenes in Foreign Lands. I contend that the geography primer is just as essential as novels and newspapers in forming the nineteenth-century British citizen's sense of nationality, since national pride is often instilled in children from a young age. In my second chapter, I look at three boys' adventure books from the late Victorian period and the early twentieth century: Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island, R. Rider Haggard's King Solomon's Mines, and Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World. Though critics have often suggested that these works, each of which is based on a treasure map, present unproblematized imperialistic plots and values, I argue that each of the authors actual critique the goals of imperialism. Stevenson, Haggard, and Doyle center their subversive critiques around maps, the rules that govern a map's creation, and the omissions from the map that both reveal the flaws in the authority's knowledge and privilege local knowledge. The third chapter looks at four early twentieth-century children's books: Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows, A. A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh, Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons, and J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit. The four texts and their accompanying maps suggest a shift away from the goal-oriented maps of foreign countries that characterized the maps of the last chapter. These books dispel with the strict, scientific charting of nineteenth century maps in favor of artistic renditions that privilege the home over the colonial space.
Meissner, C.(2011). "Reading Is Meant For Training": Maps, Nation, and Empire In British Children's Literature, 1800-1940. (Master's thesis). Retrieved from https://scholarcommons.sc.edu/etd/1088