Instruire et plaire - l’implication idéologique de la littérature enfantine dans le débat sur l’éducation en France au XIXe siècle
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‘To instruct and delight’: ideology and children’s literature in 19th-century France The dialectical tension between instructional and purely recreational, between didactic and imaginative, between socialisation and entertainment, is one that lies at the very heart of literary creation, especially that aimed at a younger readership. In 19th-century France, more than ever, children’s literature becomes invested with a dual mission to both entertain and instruct the young, as the emergence of new education laws creates favourable conditions for an expanding and increasingly diverse readership. Through a comparison of various texts, in terms of the light which they shed on the production of children’s literature across the full range of the period, this thesis sets out to examine the place of ‘education’ and ‘recreation’ within the polyphony of ideological discourses which criss-cross 19th-century educational thought. A corpus of sixteen works has been selected in order to reveal the educational impact of children’s literature in the form of short stories and romans d’apprentissage, and to highlight the extent to which such texts form an integral part of contemporary educational debates. An analysis of their underlying ideological discourse also reveals the potentially subversive nature of the genre.
KeywordsChildren's literature and contemporary educational debates
Tension between instruction and entertainment
19th-century French tales, robinsonnades and bildungsroman
Readership and emotions