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Being a Boy Again, Being a Boy Again, 0817307648, 0-8173-0764-8, 978-0-8173-0764-6, 9780817307646, , , Being a Boy Again, 0817308660, 0-8173-0866-0, 978-0-8173-0866-7, 9780817308667,

Being a Boy Again
Autobiography and the American Boy Book

Trade Cloth
1994. 208 pp.
Price:  $39.95 s
Quality Paper
1996. 208 pp.
Price:  $24.95 s

Being a Boy Again identifies a literary genre that flourished between the Civil War and World War I--the American boy book. Jacobson distinguishes the boy book tradition from the didactic story for boys and the developmental autobiography of childhood, describing it as an autobiographical form that concentrates on boyhood alone. She discusses what gave rise to the boy book, what forms it took, what problems it addressed, and finally, why it disappeared.

Jacobson finds her answers in the widespread social and economic changes of the second half of the 19th century, as well as in the personal crisis that inspired each of the boy books. She argues that key works by such writers as Thomas Bailey Aldrich, William Dean Howells, Mark Twain, Stephen Crane, and Booth Tarkington marked a nostalgic retreat to being a boy again in the face of the difficulties of being a man in 19th-century America.

Marcia Jacobson is Hargis Professor of American Literature at Auburn University.


"Being a Boy Again is luminous, cogent, learned, and continually perceptive; it convincingly foregrounds a sub-genre that had deep cultural significances. More practically, it will persuade some critics that they should, for pleasure as much as professional competence, go (back ?) to Aldrich, Warner, W. D. Howells's A Boy's Town, Hamlin Garland's Boy Life on the Prairie, and at least the first Penrod book."
American Literature

"A useful study of the psychosocial development of young males. Recommended for academic libraries, undergraduate through professional."

Winner of the Elizabeth Agee Prize in American Literature,1993

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