Recent trends in children's literature research: Return to the body

Change log

jats:pTwenty-first-century children's literature research has witnessed a material turn in strong response to the 1990s perception of childhood and the fictional child as social constructions. Cultural theories have generated fruitful approaches to children's fiction through the lenses of gender, class, race and sexual orientation, and psychoanalytically oriented theories have explored ways of representing childhood as a projection of (adult) interiority, but the physical existence of children as represented in their fictional worlds has been obscured by constructed social and psychological hierarchies. Recent directions in literary studies, such as ecocriticism, posthumanism, disability studies and cognitive criticism, are refocusing scholarly attention on the physicality of children's bodies and the environment. This trend does not signal a return to essentialism but reflects the complexity, plurality and ambiguity of our understanding of childhood and its representation in fiction for young audiences. This article examines some current trends in international children's literature research with a particular focus on materiality.</jats:p>

alterity theories, animal studies, cognitive criticism, cultural theory, disability studies, ecocriticism, material turn, posthumanism
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International Research in Children's Literature
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Edinburgh University Press