Advertisement

Children's Literature in Education

, Volume 44, Issue 2, pp 120–139 | Cite as

“A Prostitution Alike of Matter and Spirit”: Anti-War Discourses in Children’s Literature and Childhood Culture Before and During World War I

Original Paper

Abstract

Histories of the First World War have regularly implicated children’s literature in boys’ eagerness to enlist in the first two years of that conflict. While undoubtedly the majority of children’s books, comics and magazines did espouse nationalistic, jingoistic and martial attitudes, there were alternative stories and environments. Looking at the publications, organisations and educational establishments that opposed the war and resisted the Germanophobia that began to dominate public discourse at the start of the twentieth century casts new light on some of the challenges and dilemmas facing a proportion of boys as they decided whether or not to join up. Additionally, the fact that there were alternative discourses is a reminder that not all readers would have responded in the same way to the same texts. Three areas are considered: children’s stories and pamphlets produced by Quakers and peace societies; left-wing publications, especially those associated with Socialist Sunday Schools; and two of the first progressive schools in Britain.

Keywords

Pacifism Peace societies Progressive schools Socialist Sunday Schools Quakers Conscientious Objectors 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Several people have helped me in the preparation of this article. Josef Keith from the Library at Friends House, London, advised me on pacifist Quaker writing for children, and Dr. Madelyn Travis made a preliminary examination of some Quaker materials. Tara Sutton and her colleagues at the Working Class Movement Library and staff at the People’s History Museum were helpful and hospitable. Andy Simons of the British Library generously shared his expertise on pacifism and literature. Brian Rance, Archivist of King Alfred School, Natalie Wood, Archivist-Librarian at Abbotsholme School, and Jenny Woodland, Archivist and Trust Administrator at Bootham School welcomed me into their archives, gave thoughtful advice and fact-checked. Finally, Jane Rosen of the Imperial War Museum has been a regular sounding board, advisor and resource as this project has developed.

References

  1. Abbotsholmian, The. (1900–1950). Uttoxeter: Abbotsholme School.Google Scholar
  2. Abbotsholme School Magazine. (1900–1950). Uttoxeter: Abbotsholme School.Google Scholar
  3. Bootham. (1909–1949). York: Bootham School.Google Scholar
  4. Brock, Peter. (1971). Pacifism in Europe to 1914. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Child’s Socialist Reader, The. (1907). London: The Twentieth Century Press.Google Scholar
  6. Children’s Treasury of Peace, The. (c. 1890). Wisbech: Wisbech Local Peace Association.Google Scholar
  7. Clarke, I. F. (1997). Great War with Germany, 1890–1940: Fictions and Fantasies of the War-to-Come. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  8. Davin, Anna. (1996). Growing Up Poor: Home, School and Street in London 1870–1914. London: Rivers Oram Press.Google Scholar
  9. Eby, Cecil Degrotte. (1987). The Road to Armageddon: The Martial Spirit in English Popular Literature, 1870–1914. Durham: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Fussell, Paul. (2000/1975). The Great War and Modern Memory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Giesbers, J. H. G. I. (1970). Cecil Reddie and Abbotsholme: A Forgotten Pioneer and his Creation. Druk: Nijmegen.Google Scholar
  12. Golding, Harry. (1915). War in Dollyland (A Book and a Game). Photography Albert Friend. London: Ward, Lock & Co.Google Scholar
  13. Hawley, E. J. (c. 1902). The Toy Soldier: A Children’s Peace Story. Leicester: Leicester Peace Society.Google Scholar
  14. Hazell, A. P. (1907). The Red Catechism for Socialist Children. London: Twentieth Century Press.Google Scholar
  15. Humphreys, Stephen. (1981). Hooligans or Rebels? An Oral History of Working-Class Childhood and Youth 1889–1939. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  16. James, William. (1906). The Moral Equivalent of War. Address given at Stamford University. Accessed May 17, 2012, from http://www.constitution.org/wj/meow.htm.
  17. Josepha, Mary, Princess, Daughter of Alfred, King of the Belgians. (1917). Princess Marie-José’s Children’s Book. London: Cassell and Co.Google Scholar
  18. King Alfred School Magazine. (December, 1917). King Alfred School Archive (Ref. 9820/R4/1917).Google Scholar
  19. Leith, Sam. (2009, April 25). Writing in Terms of Pleasure: Interview with A. S. Byatt. The Guardian. Accessed June 5, 2012, from http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/apr/25/as-byatt-interview.
  20. Malleson, Miles. (1922). Paddly Pools: A Little Fairy Play. London: Hendersons.Google Scholar
  21. O’Sullivan, Emer. (1990). Friend and Foe: The Image of Germany and the Germans in British Children’s Fiction from 1870 to the Present. Tübingen: G. Narr Verlag.Google Scholar
  22. Oakes, John. (2009). Kitchener’s Lost Boys: From the Playing Fields to the Killing Fields. Stroud: The History Press.Google Scholar
  23. Observer, The. Vols XXXILV. (1889–1949). York: Bootham School.Google Scholar
  24. Orwell, George. (2001/1940). My Country Right or Left. In Orwell’s England: The Road to Wigan Pier in the Context of Essays, Reviews, Letters and Poems (pp. 242–248). London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  25. Prospectus. (1907). London: King Alfred School.Google Scholar
  26. Quaker Schools in Great Britain and Ireland: A Selective Bibliography of Histories and Guides to Records. (n.d.). London: Library of the Religious Society of Friends.Google Scholar
  27. Reynolds, Kimberley. (2009). Words About War for Boys: Representations of Soldiers and Conflict in Writing for Children before World War I. Children’s Literature Association Quarterly, 34(5), 255–271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Rocke, Muriel. (1917). In Days Gone By. King Alfred School Magazine, pp. 85–87. King Alfred School Archive (Ref. 9820/R4/1917).Google Scholar
  29. Rose, Jonathan. (2001). The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Russell, John. (1914). The School of War. London: King Alfred School.Google Scholar
  31. Russell, John. (November, 1916). Headmaster’s Report. London: King Alfred School Society.Google Scholar
  32. Vansittart, Peter. (1984). Voices: 1870–1914. London: Jonathan Cape.Google Scholar
  33. Ward, Paul. (1998). Red Flag and Union Jack: Englishness, Patriotism and the British Left, 1881–1924. London: The Royal Historical Society.Google Scholar
  34. Wells, H. G. (1911). Floor Games. Illus. J. R. Sinclair. London: Frank Palmer.Google Scholar
  35. Wells, H. G. (1913). Little Wars: A Game for Boys of Twelve Years to One Hundred and Fifty and for that More Intelligent Sort of Girl Who Likes Games and Books. Illus. J. R. Sinclair. London: Frank Palmer.Google Scholar
  36. Wells, H. G. (1914). The War that will End War. London: F. & C. Palmer. Accessed April 17, 2012, from http://archive.org/details/warthatwillendwa00welluoft.
  37. Wells, H. G. (1917). Master Anthony and the Zeppelin. In Mary Josepha (Ed.), Princess Marie-José’s Children’s Book (pp. 14–16). London: Cassell and Co.Google Scholar
  38. Young Socialist, The. Bound Volumes for 1907; 1912; 1913; 1914; 1915.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of English Literature, Language and LinguisticsNewcastle UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK

Personalised recommendations