Books for ‘Childish Age’: Youthful Reading Cultures in Early Modern England
This chapter evaluates the intersections between reading practices and age in early modern England by exploring how diverse genres, including romances and ‘curious books’, appealed to a youthful market. Analysing how books claiming to offer pleasure and delight urged the young to read in distinct ways, it situates early modern children’s books within a wider critical interrogation of the balance of history and delight in the history of children’s literature. It considers the child reader imagined by such books alongside evidence of the reading practices and book ownership of the young to argue for youthful reading cultures in the period. It ultimately suggests that the representation of certain modes of reading as childish indicates the significance of age-graded reading practices.