Marlboro College

NewsPress Release 1/09/01 Children's Literature is Topic of Faculty Forum

MARLBORO, VT - Marlboro College professor of writing Laura Stevenson will present "A Different Ladder Altogether: Children's Literature and Victorian Publishing" as the topic of a faculty forum at 4 p.m. Wednesday, January 24.

A noted children's book author and scholar, Stevenson has taught at Marlboro College since 1986. Her lecture will outline the cultural and technological pressures that created "The Golden Age of Children's Literature" and will delineate some of their results.

The concept of a "different ladder altogether" comes from nineteenth-century children's book author Mary Louisa Molesworth, who in 1893 commented, "Writing for children calls for a peculiar gift. It is not so much a question of taking up one's stand on the lower rungs of the literary ladder, as of standing on another ladder altogether, one which has its own steps, its higher and lower positions of excellence."

According to Stevenson, "As an assertion of the essential dignity of writing literature for children, this is a justly famous remark. As an analysis of the literary conditions in which children's literature was to be written by writers of the generations after Mrs. Molesworth's, however, it is inaccurate. Changes in the British publishing industry, the development of a mass market, and changes in the idea of what fiction was, could be, and should be had been affecting late Victorian fiction for over a decade before Mrs. Molesworth surveyed her profession."

Stevenson previously taught humanities at Bradford College and the University of California at Santa Barbara. Her monograph on Elizabethan popular literature was published by Cambridge University Press in 1984, and her published novels include "Happily After All" and "The Island and the Ring." She has a bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan, and a master's degree and doctorate from Yale University. Stevenson was an Andrew Mellon Faculty Fellow at Harvard in 1982-1983.

The faculty forum will take place in Marlboro's Appletree Building, which is fully accessible. It is free and open to the public.

The next faculty forum is scheduled for Wednesday, February 14 at 4 p.m., and will feature Eric Bass, theater director at Marlboro and director of Putney's Sandglass Theater.

For more information, please contact the college by calling (802) 257-4333.
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