Being a boy again: autobiography and the American boy book by Ms. Marcia Jacobson

By Ms. Marcia Jacobson

Being a Boy back identifies a literary style that flourished among the Civil conflict and international struggle I--the American boy publication. Jacobson distinguishes the boy ebook culture from the didactic tale for boys and the developmental autobiography of adolescence, describing it as an autobiographical shape that concentrates on boyhood on my own. She discusses what gave upward thrust to the boy booklet, what types it took, what difficulties it addressed, and eventually, why it disappeared. Jacobson unearths her solutions within the common social and financial alterations of the second one 1/2 the nineteenth century, in addition to within the own drawback that encouraged all the boy books. She argues that key works through such writers as Thomas Bailey Aldrich, William Dean Howells, Mark Twain, Stephen Crane, and sales space Tarkington marked a nostalgic retreat to being a boy back within the face of the problems of being a guy in 19th-century the United States.

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The importance to American literature and to American cultural self-awareness of the body of writing in this genre has never been fully realized. (12)4 The years spanned by the boy book encompassed enormous economic and social changes. These changes and the problems they created for American men in particular make up one context for the boy book. America moved from a state of relative isolation in 1869, the year in which The Story of a Bad Boy was published, to that of a world power in the years after 1914, the period Page 5 in which the Penrod books were published.

Cady issued in The Road to Realism, his 1956 study of Howells, in which he defined the boy book: The American boy-story, which has never been properly studied as a literary phenomenon, was more or less founded by Thomas Bailey Aldrich and consolidated by Mark Twain, with Howells to help him clarify what he was doing. It is distinct from the "story for boys," though ordinarily sold to editors and librarians as such, in that it contains a depth level at which an imaginative exploration of the nature and predicament of the man-child is carried out.

For Warner the immediate motive is less clear. He was older than Aldrichforty-eightand well established, ensconced in Page 26 the comfortable society of Nook Farm in Hartford, Connecticut, and known as Mark Twain's one-time coauthor and as an editor and essayist in his own right. With memories of his own childhood rather than children of his own to inspire him, he put together Being a Boy (Fields 1314, Lounsbury iiiiv). What specific crisis triggered those memories, however, is lost to us. Kenneth R.

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