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Provincial Readers in Eighteenth-Century England$
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Jan Fergus

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199297825

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199297825.001.0001

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Schoolboy Readers: John Newbery’s Goody Two-Shoes and Licensed War

Schoolboy Readers: John Newbery’s Goody Two-Shoes and Licensed War

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(p.118) 3 Schoolboy Readers: John Newbery’s Goody Two-Shoes and Licensed War
Source:
Provincial Readers in Eighteenth-Century England
Author(s):

JAN FERGUS

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199297825.003.0004

This chapter focuses on the boys at Rugby School. A sense of who they were is gained by looking at the nine who paid to read Frances Burney's Cecilia as soon as Samuel Clay's circulating library made it available in 1784, two years after publication. Rugby boys form a partially recoverable interpretive community. In order to understand how they might have read the children's books, chapbooks, and novels that they obtained in great quantities (at least 1,401 children's books between 1744 and 1784), the chapter reviews the curriculum at the school, the books available there, and above all how school culture scripted their lives, in a manner called ‘licensed war’. The demand for Goody Two-Shoes (published by John Newbery), one of the more popular children's books at Rugby, indicates the boys'willingness to read across gender lines. Available information about the age and careers of boys who bought Goody Two-Shoes, a detailed summary of the story, and an attempt to recover how this complex and multifarious tale might have been read by boys in their harsh all-male world follows.

Keywords:   Rugby School, school culture, Goody Two-Shoes, children's books, gender lines, Samuel Clay, Frances Burney

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