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Introduction: Pasts at Play

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Barbara Gribling


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The opening essay in this collection, which explores the relationship between play and historical knowledge through print and material culture, begins by introducing a popular children’s board game: Wallis’s New Game of Universal History and Chronology (1814; 1840). In playing with different pasts and juxtaposing the present on one board, this game o​ffers a practical example of how children routinely encountered multiple pasts and reveals how ephemeral, often overlooked archival material can reveal intersections between children’s culture and history. This chapter introduces how multiple pasts were often experienced simultaneously in different ways and through different media, by boys and girls across the social classes and throughout the long nineteenth century, for the purpose of amusement and instruction. It demonstrates the congruencies between consumerism, knowledge and interaction, which each of the subsequent essays address. Here, toy-theatre evidence demonstrates the fruitfulness of multidisciplinary collaboration in exposing the cultural work of the classical and medieval pasts. This theoretical and contextual survey, with original collaborative research, explores nineteenth-century cross-fertilisation between the past and play, play and education, history and consumerism, and its impact on children’s cultures.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Gribling B, Bryant Davies R

Editor(s): Gribling, B; Bryant Davies, R

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: Pasts at Play: Childhood Encounters with History in British Culture, 1750-1914

Year: 2020

Pages: 1-22

Print publication date: 22/09/2020

Acceptance date: 06/12/2019

Series Title: Interventions: Rethinking the Nineteenth Century

Publisher: Manchester University Press

Place Published: Manchester

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9781526128898


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