This book was published in 1770, and consists of a series of short riddles, ‘recommended to all kind mothers’. The riddles are conceived with the young child in mind, based on objects that would be familiar to most middle-class households of the time – a kite, a pair of bellows, a pin and so on.
Printed on copper plates and with rough typesetting and basic illustrations, the 16-page book describes itself as ‘most chaste’. It’s not a description with which a late 19th-century audience might agree: the answer to one of the riddles is ‘a fart’, jauntily accompanied by a drawing of a child evidently breaking wind into a candle – an interesting example of the difference between Georgian and Victorian domestic sensibilities.
- 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.