Landscape in Children's Literature: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Landscape in Children's Literature

1st Edition

By Jane Suzanne Carroll


242 pages | 20 B/W Illus.

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This book provides a new critical methodology for the study of landscapes in children's literature. Treating landscape as the integration of unchanging and irreducible physical elements, or topoi, Carroll identifies and analyses four kinds of space — sacred spaces, green spaces, roadways, and lapsed spaces — that are the component elements of the physical environments of canonical British children’s fantasy. Using Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising Sequence as the test-case for this methodology, the book traces the development of the physical features and symbolic functions of landscape topoi from their earliest inception in medieval vernacular texts through to contemporary children's literature. The identification and analysis of landscape topoi synthesizes recent theories about interstitial space together with earlier morphological and topoanalytical studies, enabling the study of fictional landscapes in terms of their physical characteristics as well as in terms of their relationship with contemporary texts and historical precedents. Ultimately, by providing topoanalytical studies of other children’s texts, Carroll proposes topoanalysis as a rich critical method for the study and understanding of children’s literature and indicates how the findings of this approach may be expanded upon. In offering both transferable methodologies and detailed case-studies, this book outlines a new approach to literary landscapes as geographical places within socio-historical contexts.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. The Sanctuary Topos 2. The Green Topos 3. The Roadway Topos 4. The Lapsed Topos 5. Applications: John Masefield’s The Box of Delights (1935), Alan Garner’s The Owl Service (1967) and Meg Rosoff’s How I Live Now (2004)

About the Author

Jane Suzanne Carroll lectures in English Literature at the University of Roehampton, UK. Her research interests include landscape, children's literature, picture books, and material culture in literature. She has published articles on Susan Cooper, J.R.R Tolkien, children's ghost stories, and children's fantasy.

About the Series

Children's Literature and Culture

Founding Editor and Series Editor 1994-2011: Jack Zipes

Series Editor, 2011-2018: Philip Nel


Founded by Jack Zipes in 1994, Children's Literature and Culture is the longest-running series devoted to the study of children’s literature and culture from a national and international perspective. Dedicated to promoting original research in children’s literature and children’s culture, in 2011 the series expanded its focus to include childhood studies, and it seeks to explore the legal, historical, and philosophical conditions of different childhoods. An advocate for scholarship from around the globe, the series recognizes innovation and encourages interdisciplinarity. Children's Literature and Culture offers cutting-edge, upper-level scholarly studies and edited collections considering topics such as gender, race, picturebooks, childhood, nation, religion, technology, and many others. Titles are characterized by dynamic interventions into established subjects and innovative studies on emerging topics.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LITERARY CRITICISM / Children's Literature