Editore: Forgotten Books
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Testo in en
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  • EAN: 9780259624448
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Two matters become increasingly clear as we reflect on the wondrous vari ety of objects in the exhibition. The first is that childhood, as we now think of that period between infancy and adulthood, is an invention of the eighteenth century in those very few countries of Western Europe that could afford leisure and were dedicated to creating and confirming a middle-class elite. The intensity of focus on this new species reached its apogee in the explosion of splendid illustrated books in late Victorian England. The second issue raised concerns the profound paradox of purpose that characterizes the meaning of children's books, toys, and games. Children's literature has its roots deeply planted in conservative moral teach ing, and its goal is socialization and, often, conformity to prevailing ideology. Yet one has only to look at many of the exquisite books shown here — from John Amos Comenius's Orbis Sensualium Pictus of 1658 to those of Beatrix Potter, Arthur Rack ham, and Dr. Seuss in the present century — to know that the other great function of children's books involves the stimulation and liberation of the imagination. Surely, more than any other form of literature and art, illustrated children's books can be said to respond to the fundamental duality of purpose ascribed to the arts of the Western world: to teach and to delight — docere et delettare. We trust that readers of this catalogue and viewers of the exhibition may share in both the learning and the pleasure that so characterize the subject. We want to thank the three curators of the exhibition, Cynthia Burling ham and Karen Mayers of the Grunwald Center and Patricia Waldron, for their imaginative response to a burgeoning field of study and an immense archive of materials. We also thank Director Peter Reill and Librarian Bruce Whiteman of the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, ucla, and University Librarian Gerald Lowell and Head of the Department of Special Collections Lynda Claassen of the Geisel Library of the University of California, San Diego. Major support for the exhibition was provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, a fed eral agency; Northern Trust Bank of California; Classical kkgo-fm', and the Good Works Foundation. Additional support was provided by the Frances and Sidney Brody Charitable Fund; Peter and Elizabeth Goulds and la. Louver Gallery, Venice, California; Mary and Bob Looker; and Susan Payne.