Danubius International Conferences, 8th International Conference The Danube - Axis of European Identity

Intermedial Paradigm of the First European Book for Children ("The Book for Boys and Girls" by J. Bunyan)

Olha Shykyrynska
Last modified: 2018-06-15


The article deals with collection of poems by John Bunyan "The Book for Boys and Girls" (1686), which had the subtitle "The Country of Rhythmic Rows for Children". In different editions it is known as "The Book for Boys and Girls: Divine Emblems or Temporal Things Spiritualised” (1724) and  from XIXth cent. the title got the abbreviated form ("Divine Emblems or Temporal Things Spiritualised"). In ancient European literature, it is considered the first book of poems for children and today, it is not translated into Ukrainian or Russian. Meanwhile, this book is undeservedly forgotten not only in the national history of children's literature, but also in foreign literary criticism. The book is based on 49 emblems, accompanied by religious and moral lessons from everyday things. The Bunyan’s poems are  written on the subjects of well-known emblems and contain the instructional and entertaining functions, as well as an appeal for self-knowledge and self-improvement, and were designed not only for the children's audience. The article presents a complete description of the emblems selected by D. Benyang to express their ideological guidance with illustrative material.