Children's literature is literature written for and/or marketed towards a primarily juvenile audience. While some books are authored for a youthful audience, others become associated with children through marketing or tradition. Still others are "crossover" books, read by children and adults alike. Literature addressed directly to children arose in Western Europe in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, becoming a very profitable industry in the 19th century. It includes picture books, fairy tales, animal stories, school stories, science fiction, fantasy, series fiction, chapter books, children's poetry, and other genres. Throughout its 300-year history, children's stories have reflected the values of the societies that produced them.
Proserpine is a verse drama written for children by the English Romantic writers Mary Shelley and Percy Bysshe Shelley. Composed in 1820 while the Shelleys were living in Italy, it is often considered a partner to the Shelleys' play Midas. Proserpine was first published in the London periodical The Winter's Wreath in 1832. The drama is based on Ovid's tale of the abduction of Proserpine by Pluto. Mary Shelley's version focuses on the female characters. In a largely feminist retelling from Ceres's point of view, Shelley emphasises the separation of mother and daughter and the strength offered by a community of women. Ceres represents life and love, and Pluto represents death and violence. The genres of the text also reflect gender debates of the time. Percy contributed in the lyric verse form traditionally dominated by men; Mary created a drama with elements common to early 19th-century women's writing: details of everyday life and empathetic dialogue. Proserpine is part of a female literary tradition which, as feminist literary criticSusan Gubar describes it, has used the story of Ceres and Proserpine to "re-define, to re-affirm and to celebrate female consciousness itself". However, the play has been both neglected and marginalised by critics.
"If you please, I should like to have the flower-pot; that is, if you won't think me very silly, mamma."
"Why, as to that, I can't promise you, Rosamond; but when you have to judge for yourself you should choose what would make you happy, and then it would not signify who thought you silly."
Edmund Evans (1826–1905) was a prominent English wood engraver and colour printer during the Victorian era. Evans specialized in full-colour printing, which became popular in the mid-19th century. He employed and collaborated with illustrators such as Walter Crane, Randolph Caldecott, Kate Greenaway, and Richard Doyle to produce what are now considered to be classic children's books. Although little is known about his life, he wrote a short autobiography before his death in 1905 in which he described his life as a printer in Victorian London. After finishing an apprenticeship, Evans went into business for himself. By the early 1850s, he had made a reputation as a printer of covers for cheap novels known as yellow-backs. In the early 1860s, Evans began to print children's toy books and picture books in association with the printing house Routledge and Warne. His intention was to produce books for children that were beautiful and inexpensive. For three decades he produced multiple volumes each year, first illustrated by Crane, and later by Caldecott and Greenaway.