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Phallus in Wonderland

Richard Jenkyns pokes fun at a Freudian analysis of children's literature

By Richard Jenkyns   January 1999

What have the English done better than anyone else? Not opera or sculpture or cookery or tennis. But England has dominated children’s literature as the German-speaking peoples have dominated the symphony. Lewis Carroll is the master, allegedly the most widely quoted and translated author in the western world after the Bible and Shakespeare; but the golden age comes a little after Carroll, from the late 19th century to about 1930. This was the era of Rudyard Kipling and Edith Nesbit, of Beatrix Potter, Kenneth Grahame and AA Milne. It also produced, in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, the best of…

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