“In a very real sense, people who read good literature have lived more than people who cannot read. It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives, and as many kinds of lives, as we wish.”
The eye-opening experience of encountering world literature is not only fascinating: it’s a necessary part of growing up in an increasingly complex world. We all talk about globalization, but that does not mean that the world has become homogeneous, the same all over. Nor does it mean that English is spoken everywhere.
In many parts of the world, the period between 1870 and 1930 saw a boom in publication of reading materials for children. This boom was accompanied by a growing consciousness of childhood reading as central to the ideas of national citizenship; international awareness; and morals and ethics. We connect our research to today’s education and social crises surrounding reading as a broadly shared cultural phenomenon, and the value of literature as a means of education and connection with the world.