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Wardrobes and Rabbit Holes: A Dark History of Children's Literature

Friday, March 22, 2013 at 9:00am to 5:00pm

Kroch Library, Level 2B, Rare and Manuscript Collections
Olin Library, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA

In recent years literature for children has seen a tremendous surge in the public consciousness, and many concerned adults have spoken out against what they perceive as a growing trend towards “darkness” in children’s books. Sex, drinking, drugs, violence, death and even magic are often cited as dangerous themes from which young readers should be protected. However, if one looks at the history of writing for children, it becomes clear that those elements have been present from the very beginning. This exhibition explores the vast wonderland of children’s literature, shedding new light on the shadows lurking in the rabbit holes.

“Wardrobes and Rabbit Holes” features such treasures as Heinrich Hoffman’s 19th century book "Der Struwwelpeter," about the disastrous consequences of misbehavior; books of magic and mayhem including “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” and “Where the Wild Things Are;” as well as the popular “Harry Potter” series.

The Samuel L. Hirshland Gallery is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Click on "see more dates" at the top, for more information, or check the Library Web site for updates and Saturday hours at The exhibition will be on view until March, 2013.

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Cornell University Library, English



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Donna Moore

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