Believed to have been a slave in Ancient Greece, little is known for certain about the life of Aesop. The stories attributed to him have come to represent the essence of the fable genre. Their common ground is a short, pithy tale with a moral message and the central characters are usually animals. The traits commonly identified with particular species of animals often play an important part in the story.
In this 16th-century retelling of one of Aesop’s best known fables, the powerful lion which has previously spared the insignificant rat, now has reason to be glad of his earlier kindness, as the rat frees him from the net.
- Article by:
- Martin Dubois
- Childhood and children's literature
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is crammed with animals: a grinning cat, a talking rabbit, an enormous caterpillar and countless others. Dr Martin Dubois explores anthropomorphism and nonsense in Lewis Carroll’s novel, revealing the literary traditions that underpin it – and those it inspired.
- Article by:
- Kimberley Reynolds
- Childhood and children's literature, Romanticism
In the mid-18th century, childhood began to be viewed in a positive light, as a state of freedom and innocence. Professor Kimberley Reynolds explores how this new approach influenced 18th and 19th-century writers, some of whom wished they could preserve childhood indefinitely.