, Kingston, NH

March 18, 2013

'Bad Boy Books' at HPL

By Janet Eagleson
Carriage Towne News

---- — HAMPSTEAD — “Lively Boys! Lively Boys!: The Origin of Bad Boy Books” is the title of the next Friends of the Hampstead Public Library program. Presenter J. Dennis Robinson is a familiar face in the Friends series of programs as he was here last year with his informative and amusing presentation “Who Won the War of 1812?”.

While we are all familiar with Mark Twain’s famous “lively boys”, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, few of us are aware of the earlier origins of the theory of “bad boys”. It all started in the mid-1800s right here in Portsmouth, with the B. P. Shillaber, author of “The Universal Human Boy” wherein he propounded the theory that boys were born to be bad. Following Shillaber, Thomas Bailey Aldrich perfected the form with his autobiographical book “The Story of a Bad Boy”. Twain’s bad boys came along later in the 1800s, Tom Sawyer in 1876 and Huckleberry Finn in 1884.

The theory held that boys were indeed born to be bad and had to fight their way to manhood on their own. Parents who overprotect their sons court disaster by not allowing them the freedom to find their way.

More modern versions of bad boys that evolved from the origins of the type in New Hampshire include both Dennis the Menace and Bart Simpson, characters we all know and love.

Please plan to join Dennis Robinson and the Lively Boys! at the library on Tues., April 9, at 7:00 p.m. The program will be preceded by drawing the winner of the new raffle basket, now on display at the library’s front desk. Following the presentation the Friends will hold their regular monthly meeting. All members of the Friends are asked to remain for the meeting. Refreshments will also be available. The program is free and open to the public. Everyone is welcome to come learn about literary Lively Boys!