Karen Sánchez-Eppler

in The Oxford Handbook of Children's Literature

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780195379785
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks


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This article explores the work of two generations of children in a Boston family who created their own books by taking the history of Johann David Wyss's The Swiss Family Robinson (1812, 1814) as the starting point. The Swiss Family Robinson is surely one of the most adapted and adaptable of childhood texts, and so proves a perfect site for this inquiry. The Hales offer a particularly vivid instance of literary salvaging. The Swiss Family Robinson is explicitly named and frequently alluded to in the Hale children's homemade books, and sea travel, shipwrecks, and deserted-island survival stories are a favorite genre for these children. The Swiss Family Robinson calls attention to the ties between the construction efforts that build their island home and the work of imagination. Its island world celebrates domesticity, ingenuity, and abundance, and equates colonial power with the power of the imagination.

Keywords: Swiss Family Robinson; child bookmakers; literary flotsam; Johann David Wyss; Hale children; island world

Article.  9991 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Children's Literature Studies

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