Sunshine and Play-time
- Doane, William Croswell

Poets Featured with External Resources

Other Works in the Collection by the Photographer(s)

Related Books by Photographic Process

Roman Sonnets (Photogravures)

Hymns of the Marshes (Photogravures)

Commentary

Doane’s collection of inescapably religious children’s verse, Sunshine and Play-time (1893) is, with Emma Justine Farnsworth’s illustrations, a photopoetic curiosity in its specific relevance to children. The illustrations depart dramatically from Farnsworth’s previous photopoetic project, In Arcadia(1892) and the pictorial representations of its female and child figures. The verse is sentimental in tone, painting a nostalgic image of childhood in poems such as ‘The Swing’ and ‘Under an Umbrella’, both of which are illustrated in a descriptive manner. Several of the poems contain an explicitly moral message, and this suggests the book may have been used in an educational context. The self-explanatory ‘Riches and Poverty’ suggests that giving and receiving are neither complete, ‘Till the want and the wealth, in an interchange, meet.’ The accompanying illustration has children represent the meeting of riches and poverty.

At times the combination of poem and photograph places the reader in the position of the child speaker: ‘Reflections’, for example, shows a small child gazing out across a brook, questioning why the ‘trees have their roots in the air.’ The speaker then reflects, in a slightly forced manner, on the ‘upside-downness’ of the world:

And yet, on the whole, in my poor little head

There’s a good deal of upside-downness too;

And the more I reflect on what I have said,

The more I feel that it’s quite like you.

Though the volume is at times charming, it is difficult to suggest that it warrants an especially important place in the history of photopoetry.

Book Details

Author: Doane, William Croswell
Title: Sunshine and Play-time
Publication Year: 1893
Poets Featured: Doane, William Croswell
Photographers Featured: Farnsworth, Emma Justine
Subjects: English poetry, Children in literature, Children
Photographic process: Photogravures

This book can be found on the Internet Archive HERE

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