Voiceless Vanguard: The Infantilist Aesthetic of the Russian Avant-Garde
Sara Pankenier Weld
Evanston: Northwestern UP, 2014.
Voiceless Vanguard: The Infantilist Aesthetic of the Russian Avant-Garde offers a new approach to the Russian avant-garde. It argues that central writers, artists, and theorists of the avant-garde self-consciously used an infantile aesthetic, as inspired by children's art, language, perspective, and logic, to accomplish the artistic renewal they were seeking in literature, theory, and art. It treats the influence of children's drawings on the Neo-Primitivist art of Mikhail Larionov, the role of children's language in the Cubo-Futurist poetics of Aleksei Kruchenykh, the role of the naive perspective in the Formalist theory of Viktor Shklovsky, and the place of children's logic and lore in Daniil Kharms's absurdist writings for children and adults.
This monograph deals with an important dimension of twentieth century avant-gardism/modernism at large, i.e. their late-romantic idealization of children and childhood as major sources of inspiration for innovative art by adults.
Pankenier clearly shows how avant-garde research at large may profit from the close scrutiny of infantilist aesthetic concepts. As such, it generates some real synergies with research into children's literature and the Europen avant-garde, in which several other IRSCL members are involved, such as Bettina Kümmerling-Meibauer. The author addresses both modernist and avant-garde theories and theories of childhood and children's literature, puncturing essentialist myths of childhood. Importantly, this monograph builds bridges between the fields of childhood studies, children's literature studies, and inquiry into modernism and the avant-garde, which may be of use to us all.
Racial Innocence: Performing American Childhood from Slavery to Civil Rights
New York: New York University Press, 2011.
Racial Innocence is a brilliant, well-written, exciting, and moving account of how slavery and racial discrimination have impacted children and childhood media in the USA for a long and decisive period. The text deals with how seemingly "innocent" areas such as play raise racial issues in performative ways, and in doing so, offers an up-to-date theoretical framing that is thought-provoking on many levels. This book has potential to influence research in children's literature for a long time to come.
Picturing Canada: A History of Canadian Childrens Illustrated Books and Publishing
Gail Edwards and Judith Saltman
Toronto: U of Toronto Press, 2010
This book comprises an account of the history of childrens English-language publishing in Canada, concentrating on illustrated works and picture books, from the beginnings of Canadian childrens literature to 2005.
The authors have plotted the evolution of Canadian publishing for children against the cultural and political shifts which have characterised Canadian history. They focus in particular on how illustrated books and picture books have negotiated Canadian debates over nationhood and national identities, with particular reference to Indigenous peoples and texts, and ethnocultural diversity. The distinctive contribution Edwards and Saltman make is that this is not merely a literary history, but Picturing Canada investigates the networks of publishing, librarianship, education, retail, reviewing and research which attend the production and reception of Canadian books for children.
Historien om bórnelitteratur: dansk bórnelitteratur gennem 400
år / The History of Children's Literature: 400 Years of Danish Children's
Copenhagen: Branner & Korch, 2006
One of the necessary and most relevant activities in a relatively young field of research is historiography. Analysing the historical emergence and development of one's object of study in a convincing and nuanced way requires mature distancing, thorough research, rich knowledge and a convincing theoretical framework to compose a history, a story of the development of children's literature in a particular area. Torben Weinreich's The History of Children's Literature: 400 Years of Danish Children's Literature is just such an ambitious and successful enterprise, offering valuable insights and models of thinking for other areas, fields, or geographical locations.
The Poetics of Childhood
New York / London: Routledge, 2003
The Poetics of Childhood is a study of the sensibility of childhood and the way writers have attempted to find a language in their work for children and for a mature audience with which to recreate this sensibility. Closely and intelligently reading an eclectic range of works from classics of children's literature (Burnett's The Secret Garden, Pearce's Tom's Midnight Garden ) as well as modern titles (Rowling's Harry Potter), the poetry of Wordsworth and Blake, Nabokov's Lolita, Lessing's The Fifth Child or Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things, Natov examines the construction of innocence, of the pastoral and the anti-pastoral, not shirking from the dark images that contribute to the poetics of childhood.
Reviews of The Poetics of Childhood by IRSCL scholars from the Netherlands, the USA, Finland, the UK, and Italy can be read in the reviews section.
Reading Race: Aboriginality in Australian Children's Literature
Carlton: Melbourne University Press, 2001
Reading Race demonstrates how Australian children's texts of all genres (fiction, non-fiction, picture books, school texts, films) represent Aborigines and Aboriginality to Australian children. It examines the ideologies of race which inform Australian children's texts, the cultural shifts that are visible in their representations of Aboriginality, and the tensions and uncertainties which they disclose. In its deployment of postcolonial theory and its attention to Aboriginal textuality, Reading Race affords models of theorized analysis of texts. It deals with questions of gender, colonialism and the sacred; issues of cultural appropriation, hybridity and reconciliation as they manifest in Australian texts.
Kinderliterarische Komparatistik [Comparative Children's Literature]
Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag C. Winter, 2000
Emer O'Sullivan's pioneering study examines the relevance of basic questions and concepts of comparative literature for children's literature studies and develops them further. What emerges is a map of the relevant areas:
The translation of children's literature is a special focus of the book. O'Sullivan draws on a communicative model of translation which links the theoretical fields of narratology and translation studies.
A final section addresses the concepts of world literature for children and children classics and analyses the globalisation of children's literature today.
Norsk Barnelitteraturhistorie [The History of Norwegian Children's
Tone Birkeland, Gunvor Risa and Karen Beate Vold
Oslo: Det norske samlaget, 1997
The Nimble Reader: Literary Theory and Children's Literature
New York: Twayne Publishers, 1996
When Toys Come Alive: Narratives of Animation, Metamorphosis and
Lois Rostow Kuznets
New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994
When Toys Come Alive> focuses on the role of toy characters (dolls, animals, mechanical objects) in older classics written for children or adults (e.g., The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, Pinocchio, Winnie the Pooh, The Velveteen Rabbit) through modern texts like The Mouse and His Child, popular cartoons, and science fiction. Kuznets uses a variety of intertextual critical approaches to show how toy characters act out deep human needs, desires, and fears, reflect socio-economic hierarchies, and raise existential issues of power and creativity.