Chivalric Stories as Children’s Literature

Edwardian Retellings in Words and Pictures


In stock

About the Book

Knights and ladies, giants and dragons, tournaments, battles, quests and crusades are commonplace in stories for children. This book examines how late Victorians and Edwardians retold medieval narratives of chivalry—epics, romances, sagas, legends and ballads. Stories of Beowulf, Arthur, Gawain, St. George, Roland, Robin Hood and many more thrilled and instructed children, and encouraged adult reading. Lavish volumes and schoolbooks of the era featured illustrated texts, many by major artists. Children’s books, an essential part of Edwardian publishing, were disseminated throughout the English-speaking world. Many are being reprinted today.

This book examines related contexts of Medievalism expressed in painting, architecture, music and public celebrations, and the works of major authors, including Sir Walter Scott, Tennyson, Longfellow and William Morris. The book explores national identity expressed through literature, ideals of honor and valor in the years before World War I, and how childhood reading influenced 20th–century writers as diverse as C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Siegfried Sassoon, David Jones, Graham Greene, Ian Fleming and John Le Carré.

About the Author(s)

Velma Bourgeois Richmond, a recipient of the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award, is a professor emerita of English at Holy Names University, Oakland, California. She lives in Berkeley, California.

Bibliographic Details

Velma Bourgeois Richmond

Format: softcover (8.5 x 11)
Pages: 384
Bibliographic Info: 81 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2014
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9622-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1735-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Part I. Contexts and Criticisms
1. The Edwardian Moment 5
2. Imagining the Middle Ages: Identity in Art and Race 14
3. Uses of the Past: Nostalgia and Hope 28
4. Antecedent Collections of Chivalric Stories 54
5. Publishing Children’s Books 66
Part II. Chivalric Stories Told to Edwardian Children
6. English/British Collections 77
7. Stories from British Poets 112
8. European Collections 137
9. Mixed Collections 179
10. Favored Heroes 205
11. Pedagogy and Schoolbooks 258
12. Remembering the Stories of Childhood 326
Notes 345
Selected Bibliography 360
Index 364

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “strongly interdisciplinary and informed by deep scholarship, this well-written work has value for the history of education, European history, literature, folklore, and children’s literature studies…highly recommended”—Choice
  • “a rich bibliographic resource that will be valued by scholars of children’s literature and medievalism”—Speculum
  • “useful information…valuable”—Arthuriana
  • “Richmond’s study is thorough and her descriptions are rich in detail…valuable”—Children’s Literature Association Quarterly