First Advisor

Claudine Fisher

Term of Graduation

Spring 1998

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in French


World Languages and Literatures




Children's literature, French -- History and criticism, Intertextuality




The theme of this thesis is the double focus of reading: pleasure and learning. Reading allows the readers, not only to identify themselves but also to escape from their everyday life. However, reading is more than a simple amusement, the cultural and personal enrichment it provides is especially valuable. Precisely because of the nature of the audience for children's literature, there is a deep desire from the author to teach the readers. The personality of the child is being formed and education with books is critical in laying a good foundation. Consequently, the writer, through the account he narrates, offers educational advice and a guide to behavior.

Henri Bosco wrote several novels for chidren including L 'Ane Culotte {1937), L'Enfant et la Riviere (1953) et Le Renard dans ['Ile (1956). The present study underlines the importance of education for young heroes and readers in those three books. As a result of their adventures and experiences, the pre-teens of those stories acquire new knowledge. The obstacles they overcome bring them closer to adulthood.

These trials, which are rites of passage, carry pedagogical lessons not only for the characters but also for the readers.

The first chapter of this analysis concentrates on the history of children's literature and on a presentation of Henri Bosco. The second chapter discusses the many educational purposes addressed by the genre. Henri Bosco insists on the learning process of the readers by teaching them fundamental notions about morality, good and evil and the respect of nature. The third and fourth chapters focus on intertextuality, first in a general fashion and then as it applies to Bosco. Finally, the fifth chapter consists of the discovery of the self through adventure and initiation.

According to La Fontaine's dictum, books are used to "amuse and teach", while presenting modern and original facets.


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