Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Following the Yellow Brick Road

The M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives Presents:
Following the Yellow Brick Road: Imitation and Influence in Children’s Literature

Classic children’s books endure for their originality and timeless value to generations of young (and older) readers. A handful of these books distinguish themselves as exemplars and definers of entire genres. Six such examples are presented in this exhibit. They are: The Pilgrim’s Progress (1678); Robinson Crusoe (1719); Gulliver’s Travels (1726); Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865); The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900); and The Tale of Peter Rabbit (1902).

Presented in the University at Albany Science Library’s Atrium exhibit cases are selections of books, some classics in their own right that take influence from their groundbreaking predecessors in a broad variety of ways. Some are explicit sequels or pastiches, while others borrow structural, stylistic, or symbolic elements, but are otherwise independent entities. Some are written by associates of the influencing novel’s author, and some even share visual similarities with their parent work. Still more are abridged or excerpted versions of classics intended to make them accessible to even the youngest readers, or to convert works originally written for adults into child-friendly formats.

Erin Shoudy, Graduate Assistant, Miriam Snow Mathes Historical Children’s Literature Collection, selected the items from over 12,000 titles in the collection. The Mathes collection is accessible in the Department of Special Collections and Archives on the Science Library’s’ third floor. The exhibit will be in the Science Library’s Atrium exhibit cases until December 15, 2010. Further information about the Mathes Collection is available here.

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