Public Program- Patricia Crain

Lectures and Performances
Friday, November 14, 2008 - 7:30pm

Babes in the Wood: Print, Orality, and Children's Literature in the Nineteenth-Century United States
by Patricia Crain

The 2008 James Russell Wiggins Lecture in the History of the Book in American Culture

Originating as a broadside ballad in the sixteenth century, "Babes in the Wood" had a long afterlife in the United States as a staple of the nineteenth-century juvenile literature market in poetry, in prose, and in a range of printed formats. This lecture explores the striking resilience of this text and its illustrations in order to reflect on the role of "the death in childhood" in the creation of modern children's literature.

Patricia Crain is associate professor of English at New York University. She is the author of The Story of A: The Alphabetization of America from the New England Primer to The Scarlet Letter (Stanford University Press, 2000). She held an AAS-NEH fellowship in 2005-2006.

This is the twenty-sixth annual Wiggins Lecture, named for James Russell Wiggins (1903-2000), chairman of the Society from 1970 to 1977, who was editor of the Washington Post and, until his death at the age of 96, editor of the Ellsworth (Maine) American. Wiggins also served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations in 1968.

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