Lessons for Little Learners

1. Increasing urban populations and great emphasis on literacy, reading and education among the middle classes in modernizing nineteenth-century Britain fueled the market for children’s literature. The end of perpetual copyright in 1774, which enabled the downmarket diversification of the print market, and advances in print technology, especially towards the end of the Romantic period when stereotyping, the iron press and the steam press took hold, were other important factors. Popular publishers such as John Harris, who succeeded John Newbery in London, were quick to capitalize on the situation with works such as Sister’s Gift, or the Naughty Boy Reformed (London: Harris, 1804), which was ‘Published for the Advantage of the Rising Generation’, but was also of Harris’s Juvenile Library and thus part of a larger commercial strategy. Priced at only one penny, this chapbook is an example of the downmarket expansion of print markets, in this case aimed not only at the working classes but designed for children (or parents).