Childhood's Imperial Imagination: Edward Stratemeyer's Fiction Factory and the Valorization of American Empire1 Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Numerous studies have appeared in recent years that deal with the reasons and rationalizations that accompanied America's overseas acquisitions in 1898. This article uses juvenile series fiction to examine how the nation's youth—boys in particular—became targets of imperial boosterism. In the pages of adventure novels set against the backdrop of American interventions in the Caribbean and the Philippines, Edward Stratemeyer, the most successful author and publisher of youth series fiction, and other less well-known juvenile fiction producers offered sensationalistic dramas that advocated a racialist, expansionistic foreign policy. Stratemeyer and others offered American boys an imaginative space as participants in and future stewards of national triumph. Young readers, the article argues further, became active participants in their own politicization. An examination of the voluminous fan mail sent to series fiction authors by their juvenile admirers reveals boys' willingness, even eagerness, to participate in the ascendancy of the United States. © 2008, Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. All rights reserved.

altmetric score

  • 1.35

author list (cited authors)

  • Rouleau, B.

citation count

  • 2

publication date

  • October 2008