From Publishers Weekly
In creating Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, girl-obsessed loner Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) achieved a breakthrough in children's literature, a work unparalleled in its freedom of thought and spirit, observes Wullschlager. In her judgment, Edward Lear's fantastical poems celebrate his escape from Victorian narrow-mindedness but also hint at a sense of alienation heightened by his secret homosexuality. Peter Pan?the naughty boy who refuses to grow up?mirrors his creator, James M. Barrie, an "emotional outsider" who idealized his mother, was unable to relate to his wife and compulsively played with other people's children. Frustrated banker Kenneth Grahame poured into The Wind in the Willows his disappointments, fears and hopes, partly reflecting his inability to accept his disabled, semi-blind son Alastair, who committed suicide at 19. For Financial Times feature writer Wullschlager, A.A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh series crystallizes the 1920s' desire for escape, light-headedness and nostalgia. A joy to read, the author's delightfully illustrated study revises our understanding of children's literature as a cultural barometer mirroring adult anxieties and aspirations.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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