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The History of Sandford and Merton 

The History of Sandford and Merton

Written by: Thomas Day
Edited by: Stephen Bending and Stephen Bygrave

Series: Broadview Editions

Publication Date: November 15, 2009
480pp • Paperback / PDF / ePub
ISBN: 9781551116280 / 1551116286

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Among the earliest novels written about children, for children, The History of Sandford and Merton was enormously popular for a century and a half after its first publication in 1783-9. The novel is Enlightenment for beginners, offering a course of education in class, race, and gender to its six year-old protagonists, the robust farm-boy Harry Sandford and Tommy Merton, the spoiled boy from the big house. Sandford and Merton offers entertaining and practical lessons in manners, masculinity, and class politics.

This Broadview Edition includes the original illustrations, along with contemporary reviews and other material on childhood by John Locke, Thomas Day, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and others.


"Thomas Day's The History of Sandford and Merton, one of the most interesting pioneering books in the history of children's literature, has long been out of print and in need of a modern critical edition. This new edition of Sandford and Merton – with an illuminating introduction that locates the novel in its intellectual, cultural, and political contexts, indispensable footnotes, and a useful selection of contextual material in the appendices – is exactly what was wanted. I’ll now have to redesign my Children's Literature course.”" - Tom Furniss, University of Strathclyde

"The History of Sandford and Merton is a key text in the history of children's literature, education theory, the British novel, Enlightenment philosophy, and the culture of sensibility. This thoughtful, carefully researched, and accessible edition provides a much needed – and long missed – opportunity for reading and teaching in all of these areas. The story of two boys' moral education, and especially of Tommy Merton's transformation from spoiled child of luxury to vigorous, sensitive, and truly gentle man, is one that speaks to ongoing debates about class, education, cruelty, and moral character." - Laura Stevens, University of Tulsa

Stephen Bending is a Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Southampton. Stephen Bygrave is a Reader in English at the University of Southampton.

Academics please note that this is a title classified as having a restricted allocation of complimentary copies. While the availability of bound complimentary copies is restricted to desk copies only, electronic complimentary copies are readily available for those professors wishing to consider this title for possible course adoption. Should you choose to adopt the book after viewing an electronic copy we will be happy to provide a bound desk copy.

Table of Contents: [Back to Top]



Thomas Day: A Brief Chronology

A Note on the Text

The History of Sandford and Merton

Appendix A: Reviews of Sandford and Merton

Appendix B: From John Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education

Appendix C: From Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Émile

Appendix D: From Memoirs of Richard Lovell Edgeworth Esq., Begun by himself and Concluded by his Daughter Maria Edgeworth

Appendix E: The Dying Negro, a Poem. By the late Thomas Day and John Bicknell, Esquires

Appendix F: From Thomas Day, Fragment of an Original Letter on the Slavery of the Negroes

Select Bibliography

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The History of Sandford and Merton

2009 • 480pp • Paperback • 9781551116280 / 1551116286

Instructors – Planning your syllabi? Consider this book for course use.

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Broadview Press acknowledges the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund, and also acknowledges the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation. Freehand Books, an imprint of Broadview, acknowledges the support of the Canadian Council of the Arts.