The Woman's Building at the World's Columbian Exposition highlighted works by women authors, many of whom wrote for or about children, in the decade before children's literature was institutionalized by publishers and librarians. This noncanonical, eclectic assortment of children's literature exists within an interpretive framework—the horizons of expectations—by which children's books were received by late Victorian America. Drawing on reception theory, I construct the cultural climate of reception by which the art and commerce of children's books were idealized and realized. The books on the shelves of the Woman's Building Library function as mirror and lamp, reflecting American culture but also constructing that culture, a pilgrimage into literary romanticism and the cultural work of Victorian women writers in their "sensational designs" to move human hearts and change the world.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 133-152
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.