Space and Place in Children’s Literature, 1789 to the Present: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Space and Place in Children’s Literature, 1789 to the Present

1st Edition

By Maria Sachiko Cecire, Hannah Field, Malini Roy


266 pages

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Hardback: 9781472420541
pub: 2016-03-18
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Focusing on questions of space and locale in children’s literature, this collection explores how metaphorical and physical space can create landscapes of power, knowledge, and identity in texts from the early nineteenth century to the present. The collection is comprised of four sections that take up the space between children and adults, the representation of 'real world' places, fantasy travel and locales, and the physical space of the children’s book-as-object. In their essays, the contributors analyze works from a range of sources and traditions by authors such as Sylvia Plath, Maria Edgeworth, Gloria Anzaldúa, Jenny Robson, C.S. Lewis, Elizabeth Knox, and Claude Ponti. While maintaining a focus on how location and spatiality aid in defining the child’s relationship to the world, the essays also address themes of borders, displacement, diaspora, exile, fantasy, gender, history, home-leaving and homecoming, hybridity, mapping, and metatextuality. With an epilogue by Philip Pullman in which he discusses his own relationship to image and locale, this collection is also a valuable resource for understanding the work of this celebrated author of children’s literature.


"This is a very useful addition to children's literature scholarship, with an impressive breadth of material." --Newsletter of the Children's Books History Society

"This robust anthology models an international and interdisciplinary conceptual framework for a range of critical fields, including childhood studies, cultural studies, and children’s geographies." --Erin Spring, University of Lethbridge, Alberta, The Lion and the Unicorn

Table of Contents

Introduction: Spaces of Power, Places of Play

Part 1 The Spaces Between Children and Adults

1 Unstable Metaphors: Symbolic Spaces and Specific Places Peter Hunt

2 Speaking the Space between Mother and Child: Sylvia Plath, Julia Kristeva, and the Place of Children's Literature Aneesh Barai

Part 2 Real-World Places

3 The Neapolitan Gouache of a Strong-Minded English Lady: 'The Little Merchants' by Maria Edgeworth Francesca Orestano

4 Borders, Pachangas, and Chicano/ a Children's Picture Books Renata Morresi

5 Sinister Ecology: Space, Environmental Justic, and Belonging in Jenny Robson's Savannah 2116 AD Elzette Steenkamp

Part 3 Traversing the Imaginary

6 English Exploration and Textual Travel in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader Maria Sachiko Cecire

7 Mapping the Interior: Place, Self, and Nation in the Dreamhunter Duet Ruth Feingold

8 Journeys through Bookland's Imaginative Geography: Pleasure, Pedagogy, and the Child Reader Margot Stafford

Part 4 Book Space

9 The Story Unfolds: Intertwined Space and Time in the Victorian Children's Panorama Hannah Field

10 The Child's Imaginary World: The Spaces of Claude Ponti's Picture Books Catherine Renaud

Epilogue: Inside, Outside, Elsewhere Philip Pullman

About the Authors

Maria Sachiko Cecire is Assistant Professor of Literature and Director of the Experimental Humanities concentration at Bard College, USA; Hannah Field is Lecturer in Victorian literature at the University of Sussex, UK; Kavita Mudan Finn is a visiting assistant professor at Southern New Hampshire University, USA; Malini Roy is a freelance writer and editor in Germany.

About the Series

Studies in Childhood, 1700 to the Present

Studies in Childhood, 1700 to the Present

This series recognizes and supports innovative work on the child and on literature for children and adolescents that informs teaching and engages with current and emerging debates in the field. Proposals are welcome for interdisciplinary and comparative studies by humanities scholars working in a variety of fields, including literature; book history, periodicals history, and print culture and the sociology of texts; theater, film, musicology, and performance studies; history, including the history of education; gender studies; art history and visual culture; cultural studies; and religion.

Topics might include, among other possibilities, how concepts and representations of the child have changed in response to adult concerns; postcolonial and transnational perspectives; "domestic imperialism" and the acculturation of the young within and across class and ethnic lines; the commercialization of childhood and children's bodies; views of young people as consumers and/or originators of culture; the child and religious discourse; children's and adolescents' self-representations; and adults' recollections of childhood.

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Subject Categories

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