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The Child in British Literature Literary Constructions of Childhood, Medieval to Contemporary by A. Gavin

The Child in British Literature Literary Constructions of Childhood, Medieval to Contemporary


The Child in British Literature Literary Constructions of Childhood, Medieval to Contemporary by A. Gavin

The first volume to consider childhood over eight centuries of British writing, this book traces the literary child from medieval to contemporary texts. Written by international experts, the volume's essays challenge earlier readings of childhood and offer fascinating contributions to the current upsurge of interest in constructions of childhood.


'A sustained investigation of the representation and construction of childhood in literature across the centuries is long overdue, but here at last is a carefully assembled volume that comprehensively covers the subject. The impressive selection of essays, of consistently high quality, takes us from medieval literature, through the early modern and Victorian periods, to Elizabeth Bowen, Virginia Woolf and Iain McEwan. Many major landmark texts are discussed both works of literature and the key contextualising works by Locke, Rousseau, Freud and others. But the reader will find much that's surprising here too: neglected titles, forgotten authors, new contexts. Taken together the essays gathered here will challenge many of our assumptions about the place of childhood in culture and the ways in which this has or hasn't shifted over time. We will certainly no longer be able to believe that the child has not been an important and continuous theme throughout all of English Literature.' - Matthew Grenby, Reader in Children's Literature, Newcastle University, UK

'Gavin is to be congratulated on editing such a coherent volume, which successfully tracks bigger shifts in literature as well as society's construction of childhood, while each essay nevertheless retains its individual focus and nuance.' - Merridee L. Bailey, University of Adelaide, Australia'

About the Author

KATHERINA DODOU Lecturer, Dalarna University, Sweden MARGOT HILLEL Professor and Head of the School of Arts and Sciences (Victoria), Australian Catholic University ANDREW F. HUMPHRIES Senior Lecturer in Education, Canterbury Christ Church University, UK DANIEL T. KLINE Professor of English, University of Alaska Anchorage, USA KATIE KNOWLES Liverpool University, UK EDEL LAMB Australian Research Council Fellow, University of Sydney, Australia PAUL MARCH-RUSSELL University of Kent, UK RODERICK MCGILLIS Professor of English, University of Calgary, Canada LUCY MUNRO Senior Lecturer in English, Keele University, UK ANDREW O'MALLEY Associate Professor, Department of English, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada PAT PINSENT Senior Research Fellow, National Centre for Research in Children's Literature, Roehampton University, UK KAREN SANDS-O'CONNOR Associate Professor of English, Buffalo State College, USA LIZ THIEL Senior Lecturer in Children's Literature, Roehampton University, UK NAOMI WOOD Associate Professor of English, Kansas State University, USA

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Book Info

Publication date

21st February 2012


A. Gavin

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Palgrave Macmillan


266 pages


Literary studies: general



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