A story, exemplified in a series of figures: paper doll versus moral tale in the nineteenth century

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Field, Hannah (2012)

Early in the nineteenth century the London publishers and printsellers, S.and J. Fuller, packaged paper dolls and storybooks together in their empleof Fancy paper doll books. Tis article examines the tension between thenarratives of these works—typically moral tales for children in which a loveof clothing is punished—and the accompanying paper dolls, which celebratecostume and dressing up. Te textual morals against love of clothing aregendered in problematic ways, with female characters mortified for this flaw more readily than male characters. However, the variety of potential reading experiences offered by the form of the paper doll book, in which picture and word are separate, is viewed as a challenge to the gendered moral content of the stories. Ultimately this article argues that the form of the paper doll book sheds new light on D. F. McKenzie’s (1986) ideas about how readers makemeaning from texts.
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