The Arctic in Literature for Children and Young Adults: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Arctic in Literature for Children and Young Adults

1st Edition

Edited by Heidi Hansson, Maria Lindgren Leavenworth, Anka Ryall


180 pages

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Hardback: 9780367360801
pub: 2019-11-30
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As a setting for juvenile literature, the Arctic has traditionally been a space for adventure, the exotic and the fantastic. More recent works have used the Arctic setting to explore a dystopian future, often related to climate change. The aim of the present volume is to examine themes in Arctic juvenile fiction from the early nineteenth century until today. The deceptive image of the Arctic as geographically uniform seems to promise a cultural coherence, but the collection illustrates the diversity of Arctic literature by critically discussing and comparing works written by visitors and settlers as well as by indigenous peoples. The chapters combine macro- and micro-perspectives to interrogate and illuminate the role of Arctic literature for young readers in creating, maintaining, and increasingly challenging Arctic myths and motifs.

Table of Contents

Heidi Hansson, "The Arctic in Literature for Children and Young Adults"


Part 1. Polar History and Its Transformations

  1. Anka Ryall, "Polar Icon? Fridtjof Nansen for Children and Young Adults"
  2. Silje Gaupseth, "An Arctic Tom Sawyer: Vilhjalmur Stefansson and Violet Irwin’s Kak"
  3. Lena Aarekol, "The Snow Baby Books: Mediating Arctic Experiences to Children"
  4. Henning Howlid Wærp, "The Polar Bear in Nordic Literature for Children and Young Adults"

    Part 2. Indigenous and Localized Arctics

  6. Ingeborg Høvik, "Girlhood in the Arctic: Word-Image Relations in R. M. Ballantyne’s Canadian Adventures"
  7. JoAnn Conrad, "Encountering Otherness in the Geographical Imaginary: Lapland Journeys in Early Swedish Children’s Books"
  8. Tiffany Johnstone, "‘To Help You Find Your Way Home’: Michael Kusugak’s Reimagining of Fear and Danger in the Canadian Arctic"
  9. Lill-Tove Fredriksen, "Imagination and Reality in Sami Fantasy"
  10. Silje Solheim Karlsen, "Coming-of-Age through Svalbard Adventures"

    Part 3. Arcticity and Imaginary Arctics

  12. Heidi Hansson, "Negotiating the Snow Queen: Versions of an Arctic Archetype"
  13. Toni Lahtinen, "Arctic Wilderness in Zachris Topelius’s Fairy Tale ‘Sampo Lappelil’"
  14. Johan Schimanski, "Playing the Arctic: Arthur Ransome's Winter Holiday"
  15. Kirsti Pedersen Gurholt, "Arctic Adventure Girls: Television Narratives and Discourses"
  16. Maria Lindgren Leavenworth, "Orientation and Disorientation in Realistic and Speculative Young Adult Fiction"

About the Editors

Heidi Hansson received her Ph D from Umeå University, Sweden with the dissertation Romance Revived: Postmodern Romances and the Tradition (1998). She is Professor of English Literature at the same university and currently serves as Deputy Vice Chancellor. She has published widely on images of the North and the Arctic in travel writing, fiction and popular culture, and has edited, together with Cathrine Norberg, the collection Cold Matters: Cultural Perceptions of Snow, Ice and Cold (2009) and with Anka Ryall, the recent collection Arctic Modernities: The Environmental, the Exotic and the Everyday (2017).

Maria Lindgren Leavenworth is Associate Professor of English Literature at the Department of Language Studies, Umeå University, Sweden. She received her Ph D from the same university with the dissertation The Second Journey: Travelling in Literary Footsteps (2000, revised second edition 2010). Her research with focus on travel literature and the North has resulted in articles on 19th-century travel writers Bayard Taylor and S. H. Kent, and more recently, she has examined contemporary speculative fictions set in the Arctic by Dan Simmons and Michelle Paver.

Anka Ryall is Professor Emerita at the Centre for Women’s and Gender Research at UiT The Arctic University of Norway, where she previously taught English literature. Among her publications are several books on travel writing and gender, while her latest book (in Norwegian) deals with Virginia Woolf's literary border crossings. She has published widely on the Arctic as a gendered space in travel writing, been the leader of two international interdisciplinary research programmes on Arctic literature, and co-edited Arctic Discourses (2010) with Johan Schimanski and Henning Howlid Wærp and Arctic Modernities: The Environmental, the Exotic and the Everyday (2017) with Heidi Hansson.

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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