Chapter 1. John Ruskin and the mutual influences of children’s literature and the avant-garde

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This chapter traces some nineteenth-century ideas, here tied to the art critic/social reformer John Ruskin, which connect children’s literature and culture with the future avant-gardes. Ruskin praised the energy of early art in the cultures he loved, celebrated the potential influence of improved nursery books, recognized the positive aspects of the grotesque which, in that era, were a regular feature of children’s literature and entertainment, and contributed his inspiration to the Arts and Crafts movement, a contributor to the development of the picturebook ideal synthesis of image and text.


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