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Suffer the Little ChildrenUses of the Past in Jewish and African American Children's Literature$
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Jodi Eichler-Levine

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780814722992

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814722992.001.0001

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Dwelling in Chosen Nostalgia

Dwelling in Chosen Nostalgia

(p.57) 3 Dwelling in Chosen Nostalgia
Suffer the Little Children

Jodi Eichler-Levine

NYU Press

This chapter explores how domestic imagery figures in the telling of Jewish and African American past and an idealized hearthside vision that glosses over moments of trauma. In particular, it considers how domestic objects are used to make painful histories more accessible to children. It shows how Jewish and African American children's literature sets up homes that can be understood according to very Victorian notions of household femininity, nostalgically modeling families in which women are angels of the house and sentiment-laden objects dominate memory. It also analyzes Sydney Taylor's All-of-a-Kind Family and its sequels and the role of food-driven nostalgia in books about both Jews and African Americans before concluding with a discussion of how memories of trauma are tempered by commemorations of domesticity as authors create heritage. The chapter suggests that American religiosity is linked to nostalgic visions of material home spaces.

Keywords:   trauma, Jewish children's literature, African American children's literature, memory, nostalgia, Sydney Taylor, All-of-a-Kind Family, Jews, African Americans, domesticity

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