Growing Up: Childhood Chapter uri icon


  • The range of Victorian responses to childhood is wide. This chapter summarizes, emphasizes, and suggests the development, boundaries, and repercussions of nineteenth-century Britain's fascination with childhood real and imagined. While Victorian writers on domesticity stressed the wonders of the parentchild bond within the privileged classes, in practice children belonging to those classes often had minimal contact with their parents. By the end of the century, children's periodicals could afford to specialize, aiming at the urban working-class boy or girl as well as at middle-class consumers such as the public-school boy, the Tractarian young lady, even the young vegetarian or Theosophist or anti-smoking enthusiast. Religious fiction for the young might also concern itself with the educated classes, as the work Charlotte Mary Yonge shows. The difficult lives of fictional children suggest that the most serious charge leveled against the adult world was neglect and an inability to fathom childish needs.

author list (cited authors)

  • Nelson, C.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Nelson, Claudia

editor list (cited editors)

  • Tucker, H. F.

Book Title

  • A New Companion to Victorian Literature and Culture

publication date

  • March 2014