1st Edition

Risk in Children’s Adventure Literature

By Elly McCausland Copyright 2024
    214 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Risk in Children’s Adventure Literature examines the way in which adults discuss the reading and entertainment habits of children, and with it the assumption that adventure is a timeless and stable constant whose meaning and value is self-evident. A closer enquiry into British and American adventure texts for children over the past 150 years reveals a host of complexities occluded by the term, and the ways in which adults invoke adventure as a means of attempting to get to grips with the nebulous figure of ‘the child’. Writing about adventure also necessitates writing about risk, and this book argues that adults have historically used adventure to conceptualise the relationship between children and risk: the risks children themselves pose to society; the risks that threaten their development; and how they can be trained to manage risk in socially normative and desirable ways. Tracing this tendency back to its development and consolidation in Victorian imperial romance, and forward through various adventure texts and media to the present day, this book probes and investigates the truisms and assumptions that underlie our generalisations about children’s love for adventure, and how they have evolved since the mid-nineteenth century. 




    1. Adventurous Hegemonies in the Imperial Romance



    2. Romance Without Risk in Early American Girls’ Scouting Fiction



    3. We Didn’t Mean to: The Accidental Adventurer in Ransome, Blyton, and Beyond



    4. Risk and Randomness in 'Choose Your Own Adventure'



    5. Adventurous Authority in the Survival Novel



    6. Treasure Chests and Tomb Raiders: Redistributing Risk in the Postcolonial Adventure Novel



    Epilogue: Breaking Free


    Eleanor McCausland is Associate Professor of English Literature at Ghent University, where she teaches on children’s literature, nineteenth-century literature, and literature and popular music. Her research interests include medievalism, children’s literature, ecocriticism, and adaptation. She is also an award-winning food writer.