In this Oxford World’s Classics audio guide, Peter Hunt, Professor
Emeritus in Children’s Literature at the University of Cardiff, who was
responsible for setting up the first course in children’s literature in the
UK, introduces the newcomer to reading critically texts written for
Click on the links below to hear Peter’s thoughts on the field
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title. Peter Hunt introduces The Wind in the Willows
Introducing Children's Literature
[0:30] Is it possible to say when children’s
literature as a recognizable genre started?
“All children’s books, even now, are didactic in some way.” [0:56]
Peter Hunt explains why.
[1:13] When, where and why did the academic
study of children’s books begin?
[0:58] When Peter Hunt set up the first
children’s literature course in the UK, what was his intention?
What advice does Peter Hunt have for someone embarking on the study of
children’s literature for the first time? [1:35] Do you have to learn to read in a
[1:02] When studying children’s books, is it
important to remember that they are often first encountered by being read
aloud by an adult?
[0:41] Peter Hunt reflects on the fact that the
classics of children’s literature have been extraordinarily productive of
other texts, sequels, prequels, adaptations as well as films.
When children’s books first appeared on university courses, they were
regarded as non-canonical texts. Has that changed in the past forty years?
[1:16] Is there now a canon of children’s
literature? Biographical and psychological criticism seems to be particularly
popular in discussing children’s texts.
[1:24] Peter Hunt discusses this.
[1:26] Are children’s books able to address
an adult and a child audience simultaneously, thereby becoming vehicles for
satire and social comment?
When did a market for children’s books develop? [1:23] Was that an early nineteenth-century
The Wind in the Willows