Golden Age

The “Golden Age” is a Greco-Roman concept, introduced in Hesiod’s Works and Days, which pictures a race of men who “lived like gods without sorrow of heart, remote and free from toil and grief: miserable age rested not on them; but with legs and arms never failing they made merry with feasting beyond the reach of all evils” (2007). In children’s literature, the term was first proposed by the mid-twentieth century British biographer (and Inkling) Roger Lancelyn Green, whose use of it was ideologically freighted but historically useful. Since Green, however, the term has spread and morphed to become a designation of generic excellence: there is a “Golden Age” of children’s book illustration, a “second Golden Age” of children’s fantasy, and a “Golden Age” of African American children’s books. As Raymond Williams (1976) notes of every keyword he included, “Golden Age” seems “inextricably bound up with the problems it was …

This essay may be found on page 96 of the printed volume.

Works Cited
Permanent Link to this Essay