Boys in Children's Literature and Popular Culture

Masculinity, Abjection, and the Fictional Child

By Annette Wannamaker

© 2007 – Routledge

196 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415875516
pub: 2009-01-10
US Dollars$54.95
Hardback: 9780415974691
pub: 2007-07-23
US Dollars$147.00

About the Book

Boys in Children’s Literature and Popular Culture proposes new theoretical frameworks for understanding the contradictory ways masculinity is represented in popular texts consumed by boys in the United States. The popular texts boys like are often ignored by educators and scholars, or are simply dismissed as garbage that boys should be discouraged from enjoying. However, examining and making visible the ways masculinity functions in these texts is vital to understanding the broad array of works that make up children’s culture and form dominant versions of masculinity. Such popular texts as Harry Potter, Captain Underpants, and Japanese manga and anime often perform rituals of subject formation in overtly grotesque ways that repulse adult readers and attract boys. They often use depictions of the abject – threats to bodily borders – to blur the distinctions between what is outside the body and what is inside, between what is "I" and what is "not I." Because of their reliance on depictions of the abject, those popular texts that most vigorously perform exaggerated versions of masculinity also create opportunities to make dominant masculinity visible as a social construct.

About the Series

Children's Literature and Culture

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
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Popular Culture