How Did Long John Silver Lose his Leg?
And Twenty-Six Other Mysteries of Children’s Literature
By Dennis Butts and Peter Hunt
Due for release: 28/11/2013
Even with the efforts of the Railway Children, could Bobbie’s train really have stopped in time? Is the sinister nature of Tommy Brock in The Tale of Mr Tod the result of Beatrix Potter having ‘flu in 1909? Would the ‘rugby football’ played by Tom Brown in Tom Brown’s Schooldays be recognised by sportsmen today?
How did Long John Silver Lose His Leg? is a diverting tour through some of the best loved classics of children’s literature, addressing many of the unanswered questions that inspire intense speculation when the books are laid down.
The authors hypostasise entertainingly and informatively on the anomalies and unexplained phenomena found in children’s literature and, having established the cultural importance of children’s books in the modern age, also consider the more serious issues raised by the genre. Why are we so defensive of the idyllic worlds presented in children’s books? Why have some of our best-loved authors been outed as neglectful parents to their own children? Should we ever separate the book from its creator and appreciate the works of writers convicted of crimes against children?
How Did Long John Silver Lose his Leg? is not Peter Rabbit on trial, but an adventure through the looking-glass of literary trivia, history and criticism. A treat for any enthusiast of children’s literature, two of the most distinguished writers on the subject provide rich detail, witty explication, and serious food for thought.
About the Authors:
Dennis Butts, a former Chairman of The Children’s Books History Society, taught children’s literature at Reading University. He has a lifelong interest in the relationship between politics, society and literature, and has written on many aspects of children’s books and nineteenth-century literature. He is the author of Children’s Literature and Social Change, and co-edited From the Dairyman’s Daughter to Worrals of the WAAF, both published by The Lutterworth Press.
Peter Hunt is Professor Emeritus at the School of English, Cardiff University, Visiting Professor at Newcastle University, and Visiting Professor at the Università Ca’ Foscari, Venice. In 2003 he was awarded the Brothers Grimm Award for services to children’s literature, and in 1998 the Distinguished Scholarship Award, International Association for the Fantastic in Arts.
About the Publisher: The Lutterworth Press has been trading since the eighteenth century and is one of the longest established and best-known independent publishers in the United Kingdom. It has been associated with James Clarke & Co. since 1984.
Children’s Literature and Social Change: Some Case Studies from Barbara Hofland to Philip Pullman, by Dennis Butts, ISBN 9780718892081
From the Dairyman’s Daughter to Worrals of the WAAF: The RTS, Lutterworth Press and Children’s Literature, by Dennis Butts and Pat Garrett (editors), ISBN 9780718830557