1st Edition

Children's Stories and 'Child-Time' in the Works of Joseph Cornell and the Transatlantic Avant-Garde

ISBN 9781138270107
Published September 9, 2016 by Routledge
280 Pages

USD $62.95

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

Focusing on his evocative and profound references to children and their stories, Children's Stories and 'Child-Time' in the Works of Joseph Cornell and the Transatlantic Avant-Garde studies the relationship between the artist's work on childhood and his search for a transfigured concept of time. This study also situates Cornell and his art in the broader context of the transatlantic avant-garde of the 1930s and 40s. Analisa Leppanen-Guerra explores the children's stories that Cornell perceived as fundamental in order to unpack the dense network of associations in his under-studied multimedia works. Moving away from the usual focus on his box constructions, the author directs her attention to Cornell's film and theater scenarios, 'explorations', 'dossiers', and book-objects. One highlight of this study is a work that may well be the first artist's book of its kind, and has only been exhibited twice: Untitled (Journal d'Agriculture Pratique), presented as Cornell's enigmatic tribute to Lewis Carroll's Alice books.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; ABCs: the classroom; The Little Mermaid: the dancer; The Little Prince: the observatory; Alice in Wonderland: the wanderer; Through the Looking-Glass: the chess-game; Beauty and the Beast: the rite of passage; Sleeping Beauty: the museum; Conclusion; Postscript: 'fin du rêve'; Bibliography; Index.

View More



Analisa Leppanen-Guerra teaches in the History of Art & Architecture Department at DePaul University, Chicago, USA. She specializes in nineteenth- and twentieth-century art and visual culture.


Prize: Winner of a College Art Association Wyeth Foundation for American Art Publication Grant

'Various writers in the past have touched on Joseph Cornell’s fascination with childhood, and on play and toys as subjects in his work, but there has not yet been a study which deals with the subject head-on. This book is among the best in the rich literature on Cornell.' David Hopkins, University of Glasgow, UK

'... this book would be of interest to those researching representations of childhood and children, as well as those considering adaptations of children’s literature. The text is also worth considering for its representations of gender identities... Leppanen-Guerra provides an amazingly detailed and interesting evaluation of Cornell’s work. She clearly situates him within the transatlantic avant-garde movement and highlights this artist’s fascinating perspective on childhood. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in adaptations of children’s literature, children in art, and representations of childhood, maturation, and gendered identities.' Children’s Literature Association Quarterly