From Pinocchio to The Velveteen Rabbit, tales of creation and animation have long captured the childhood imagination. I have spent several days in the reading room exploring the treatment of created beings in children’s literature. These stories differ in their narrative style, subject matter, and characters, but nonetheless offer fascinating commentary on artificiality and personhood.
I have selected seven illustrations from the children’s literature collection that visually bring these animated characters to life. Each one highlights the unique ways in which authors treat toys, dolls, cyborgs, and automata throughout the ages.
Intern Giorgina Paiella is an undergraduate student majoring in English and minoring in philosophy and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. In her new blog series, “Man, Woman, Machine: Gender, Automation, and Created Beings,” she will explore treatments of created and automated beings in archival materials from Archives and Special Collections.