The essays in this collection address the relationship between children and cultural memory in texts both for and about young people. The collection overall is concerned with how cultural memory is shaped, contested, forgotten, recovered, and (re)circulated, sometimes in opposition to dominant national narratives, and often for the benefit of young readers who are assumed not to possess any prior cultural memory. From the innovative development of school libraries in the 1920s to the role of utopianism in fixing cultural memory for teen readers, it provides a critical look into children and ideologies of childhood as they are represented in a broad spectrum of texts, including film, poetry, literature, and architecture from Canada, the United States, Japan, Germany, Britain, India, and Spain. These cultural forms collaborate to shape ideas and values, in turn contributing to dominant discourses about national and global citizenship. The essays included in the collection imply that childhood is an oft-imagined idealist construction based in large part on participation, identity, and perception; childhood is invisible and tangible, exciting and intriguing, and at times elusive even as cultural and literary artifacts recreate it. Children and Cultural Memory in Texts of Childhood is a valuable resource for scholars of children’s literature and culture, readers interested in childhood and ideology, and those working in the fields of diaspora and postcolonial studies.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Fixing the Past for Young People Lorna Hutchison and Heather Snell 1. Reading Canadian: Children and National Literature in the 1920s Gail Edwards 2. "A Real True Merrican Like Us": Edith Wharton’s Past, Modern Children and American Identity Jenny Glennon 3. Nationalism, Nostalgia, and Intergenerational Girlhood: Textual and Ideological Extensions to Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House Benjamin Lefebvre 4. A Japanese History Textbook and the Construction of World War II Memory Aya Matsushima 5. Modern Architecture, National Traditions and Ambivalent Internationalism: An East German Architectural Text for Young Readers Curtis Swope 6. "You Say You Want a Revolution": Cultural Memory, Black Nationalist Didacticism, and Sonia Sanchez’s It’s a New Day: Poems for Young Brothas and Sistuhs Jean-Philippe Marcoux 7. Ambivalent Doomsday for the Young: Nuclear Fictions for Children and Adolescents in the 1980s Tamar Hager 8. Constructing an Innocent German Past: Childhood and National Socialism in Dieter Forte’s Der Junge mit den blutigen Schuhen and Martin Walser’s Ein springender Brunnen Nora Maguire 9. "Infinnate Joy": Play, Performance and Resistance in Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things Lucy Hopkins 10. The Seductions of Good and Evil: Competing Cultural Memories in Steven Keewatin Sanderson’s Superhero Comics for Aboriginal Youth Doris Wolf 11. "They’re Good with Good Girls": Constructions of Childhood in Coming-of-Age Films about the Spanish Civil War Anindya Raychaudhuri 12. "Does Not Happen": M.T. Anderson and Terry Pratchett Imagine the Nation Adrienne Kertzer
Heather Snell is Associate Professor of English at the University of Winnipeg, Canada
Lorna Hutchison is Visiting Assistant Professor in Children's Literature at Metropolitan State University of Denver, US
"(...) The editors and the authors are to be congratulated on the general quality and sophistication of the essays. Each one will offer the specialist reader a significant insight into the important and complex roles of childhood and/or children's text in the (re) writing of cultural memory." - Melek Ortabasi, Associate Professor in the World Literature Program, Simon Fraser University, Canada