Literary Representations of Childhood

Monica Flegel

in Childhood Studies

ISBN: 9780199791231
Published online March 2012 | | DOI:
Literary Representations of Childhood

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The child looms large in the literary imagination, both as a character in her or his own right and as a representation of a culture’s symbolic associations with childhood, such as innocence, savagery, emptiness, vulnerability, or freedom. It is important to remember, however, that although we all may lay claim to having been a child at one time, the child in literature is almost entirely constructed and represented by adults. This article provides an overview of the many ways the child is made to mean in literature, across a variety of times, nations, and cultures. It includes references to works that study the figure of the child in both children’s literature and adult literature—in part, because it is impossible to separate these representations from each other, but also as means of recognizing the significant crossover between child and adult audiences.

Article.  15266 words. 

Subjects: Development Studies

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