Essay on 1800-1900 a century of purity with a few passions


Before 1800, literature was mainly religious. Most books told children that if they went against God’s will they would obtain a punishment. However, during the 18th century the developments did not make the literature to change much. Still it remained clear-headed but expressed the possibility that human being were free to live life large. Books showed adult morals and fashions of the world.

The American Sunday school Union.

It was a religious and realistic era which began Sunday Schools and Adult School Union in Philadelphia in the year 1870 and changed its name to American Sunday Union in 1824. The Sunday lessons taught religion, arithmetic, syntax and history. The books used in the unions were mainly published the union and were used for in the forthcoming forty years. The union was mostly popular for its heavily upright fiction portraying two formulas. First an adolescent child near demise would make readers recall the merits that they must uphold then the young teenager would die. The second formula showed fine children who had for the moment forgotten their chores to their families and deserved to obtain a punishment. The writing was usually excessively sentimental . Between 1870 and 1880 most people lost interest in reading the books due to competing writers such as Horatio Alger who surprisingly had equally poor work often to more experienced writers like Louisa May Alcott.

Alcott and Alger

Louisa May Alcott and Horatio Alger were the first writers to get public recognition although they styles of writing were very different. While Alcott tackled happy families Alger preferred dealing with out of order families. Alger’s novels largely expressed fantasies had a romantic element. Today Alger’s work of writing is hardly read while Alcott’s literal works have managed to hold many a readers interest.

The Two Most Popular Types of Novels: Domestic and Dime Novels.

The domestic story depicts a belief in the human race as redeemable. It advocated for a woman’s compliance with a man’s rules. Particular concern is given to religious conviction and glorification of suffering by the woman. On the other hand dime novels were popularly read by men. Writers of these novels used simple English which enthralled the readers. Although some librarians objected to these novels they forever had a moral lesson.

Fiction and Libraries

This is a time that was marked by debate over the use of libraries. Librarians and some members of the public raised concerns whether libraries should be stocked with fictional books or educational books. Young people fiction books to avail in the libraries which were against their teachers wishes.

1900-1940: From the Safety of Romance to the Beginning of Realism

The initial forty years of the century, the change of guard from agrarian revolution to the development of an urban society. The labor Union increased fast. Ford Foundation increased its production capacity in reaps and bounds. By 1938, the inflation rates had left a staggering three million youth unemployed, 1939 saw the accomplishment of the New York World Fair that brought hope of a better tomorrow.

Reading Interests versus Reading Needs

Young people’s reading needs were put before their personal reading interest and preferences. Reading for leisure was seen as a waste of time and wicked. Nevertheless, young people still found time to read fiction.

Girls Books and Boys Books

Boys’ books were seen to be much more greater to girls’ books which depicted women as feeble characters. Girl’s books were full of emotions while boys books were full of adventure and action. It was however, observed that girls could read boys books but boys would not be engrossed in a girls books

Changing English Classroom

Recommendations were made that ensured that students be trained English for five hours in a week in their four years of high school. It was proposed that they sit for homogenous college entrance exams in the whole of America. This led to the publishing of Shakespeare’s Paradise Lost and As You Like It which were used as entrance exams for students. Teachers began using these books in classrooms so as to ensure that their students did fine in exams too.

National Council of English Begins.

This is a committee consisting of English teachers that was formed to protest the use university entrance exams. This council decided that students should be taught in a manner that they will form a deeper accepting of the literal forms.

School libraries of paper bucks

The National Education Council recommended that each school gets its own library which should be stocked with up to date books, newspapers magazines and journals. The year 1916 saw the regularity of all libraries in the United States.

Changes and Growth in Young Adult Literature

Series books were replaced books that paid special attention to the modern life of dating, partying, teenage years, popular culture romances with sex scenes. Since the quality was greatly improved young people read the books in large numbers. Writing styles changed to give way to simple plots with happy endings.

Adult Books That Set the Stage for Contemporary YA Novels

Both adults and adolescents were richly fascinated by James Bond’s book Agent 007. Ian Fleming also interested people with escapist stimulation painted with the hard realities of life.
Green Dolphin Street by Elizabeth Goudge was also among those books that set the stage for Contemporary YA novels. The book depicted a adolescent man torn sandwiched between the love of two sisters. Books with a curl of dilemma were more appreciated by people finishing high school.

Rise of Criticism of Young Adult Literature

In the 1940s books received very little criticism by librarians and teachers. Though in the 1950s different authors started criticizing books. Dwight L. Burton suggested that a good book for adolescent must show real life experiences and make the listeners to develop a sense of individuality.