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Wide Awake in SlumberlandFantasy, Mass Culture, and Modernism in the Art of Winsor McCay$
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Katherine Roeder

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781617039607

Published to University Press of Mississippi: September 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781617039607.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM Mississippi SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mississippi.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Mississippi, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSSO for personal use.date: 20 October 2019

Picturing Boyhood

Picturing Boyhood

3 (p.45) Picturing Boyhood
Wide Awake in Slumberland

Katherine Roeder

University Press of Mississippi

Chapter three considers McCay's depiction of childhood and the imagination in Little Nemo. Images glorifying childhood as a period of unfettered creativity dominated early twentieth-century American fiction, magazines, and comics. Children's novels, including Baum's Wizard of Oz, and comics such as Peter Newell's The Dreams of Polly Sleepyhead attest to a widespread interest in the imaginative child. From the advertisements of Maxfield Parrish to Jessie Willcox Smith's picture book illustrations, the cultural fascination with youthful dreamers was pervasive. McCay drew upon children's literature when creating his protagonist Nemo, a wide-eyed boy whose bed becomes the vehicle for his imagination. The children's publishing industry, including picture books, juvenile magazines and newspaper comic strips, directed its products at different class-based audiences. McCay recognized that the distinctions drawn between these media were permeable. He tested and manipulated visual codes to produce work that would appeal to a mixed class audience.

Keywords:   Early 20th Century, Childhood, Boy, Imagination, Class

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