Who Is Afraid of Children’s Books? Critics’ Assumptions on Children’s Literature: A Political Matter

Giulia Zanfabro

Abstract


In defining children’s literature, the centrality of the public whom this literature refers to is a crucial critical issue: children’s literature is, in fact, «a category of books the existence of which absolutely depends on supposed relationships with a particular reading audience: children» (Lesnik-Oberstein 2002: 15).

The article is structured in three parts: i) in the first part, I will frame children’s literature within the contemporary literary system and I will make explicit the asymmetry existing between, on the one hand, literature – and all agents involved in its production and in its distribution – and, on the other, children – reception; ii) in the second part, I will make explicit the content of the assumptions most children’s literature critics have and the ideas of child they are grounded on; iii) in the third part, I will outline the reasons why questioning these assumptions is a political matter: the arguments used by those political forces that in Italy want to limit the distribution of and to ban Piccolo Uovo – and the like – are, in fact, grounded on the same assumptions most children’s literature critics have, especially those working within pedagogy.


Keywords


children’s literature; literary theory; Piccolo Uovo; childhood; literary system

Full Text:

PDF (Italiano)

References


Adamo, Sergia (ed.), Culture planetarie? Prospettive e limiti della teoria e della critica culturale, Roma, Meltemi, 2007.

Antoniazzi, Anna - Gasparini, Adalinda, Nella stanza dei bambini. Tra letteratura per l’infanzia e psicoanalisi, Bologna, Clueb, 2009.

Arnaud-Duc, Nicole, “Le contraddizioni del diritto”, Storia delle donne. L’Ottocento, Ed. Georges Duby - Michelle Perrot, Bari, Laterza, 1991: 51-88.

Ascenzi, Anna - Caroli, Dorena - Pomante, Luigiaurelio - Sani, Roberto, “History of education and children’s literature in the Italian universities (1988- 2013)”, History of Education & Children's Literature, 9.2 (2014): 825-831.

Attridge, Derek,J. M. Coetzee and the Ethics of Reading, Chicago, Chicago University Press, 2004.

Attridge, Derek - Elliott, Jane (ed.), Theory After “Theory”, London - New York, Routledge, 2011.

Bal, Mieke, “Legal Lust: Literary Litigations”, Australian Feminist Law Journal, 15. 1 (2001): 1-22.

Beckett, Sandra L., Crossover Fiction: Global and Historical Perspectives, London - New York, Routledge, 2009.

Beseghi, Emy (ed.), Infanzia e racconto, Bologna, Bononia University Press, 2003.

Blake, Andrew, The Irresistible Rise of Harry Potter, New York, Verso, 2002.

Blezza Picherle, Silvia, Libri bambini ragazzi. Momenti di evoluzione, Verona, Libreria Editrice Universitaria, 2002.

Id., Formare lettori, promuovere la lettura. Riflessioni e itinerari narrativi tra territorio e scuola, Milano, Franco Angeli, 2013.

Boero, Pino - De Luca, Carmine, La letteratura per l’infanzia(1995), Milano, Laterza, 2009.

Bradford, Clare -Mallan, Kerry - Stephens, John - McCallum, Robyn, New World Orders in Contemporary Children’s Literature. Utopian Transformations, New York, Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.

Butler, Judith, Gender Trouble(1990), London - New York, Routledge, 1999.

Id., Bodies that Matter, London - New York, Routledge, 1993.

Butler, Judith -Laclau, Ernesto -Slavoj, Žižek (ed.), Contingency, Hegemony, Universality: Contemporary Dialogues On The Left, London - New York, Verso, 2000.

Calabrese, Stefano, Letteratura per l’infanzia. Fiaba, racconto di formazione, crossover, Milano, Università Bruno Mondadori, 2013.

Carta, Giorgia, The Other Half of The Story: The Interaction Between Indigenous and Translated Literature for Children in Italy, PhD Thesis, University of Warwick, May 2012.

Christian-Smith, Linda (ed.), Texts of Desire: Essays on Fiction, Femininity and Schooling, London, TheFalmer Press, 1993.

Coats, Karen, Looking Glasses and Neverlands. Lacan, Desire and Subjectivity in Children’s Literature, Iowa City, University of Iowa Press, 2004.

Crago, Hugh, “Bibliotherapy and Psychology”, International Companion Encyclopedia of Children’s Literature(1996), Ed. Peter Hunt,London - New York, Routledge, 2005: 627-636.

Croce, Benedetto, La letteratura della nuova Italia, vol. 5, Bari, Laterza 1974.

Culler, Jonathan, On Deconstruction, Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 1982.

Id., Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1997.

Eccleshare, Julia, A Guide to Harry Potter Novels, London - New York, Continuum, 2002.

Faeti, Antonio, Letteratura per l’infanzia, Firenze, La Nuova Italia, 1977.

Gilbert, Sandra -Gubar, Susan, The Madwoman in the Attic, New Haven - London, Yale University Press, 1979.

Grenby, M.O. - Reynolds, Kimberley, Children’s Literature Studies. A Research Handbook, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.

Grilli, Giorgia, “Le maschere del mondo e i buchi delle serrature”, Infanzia e racconto, Ed. Emy Beseghi, Bologna, Bononia University Press, 2003: 95-130.

Id., “Bambini, insetti, fate e Charles Darwin”, La letteratura invisibile, Ed. Emy Beseghi - Giorgia Grilli, Roma, Carocci, 2011: 21-57.

Id., Libri nella giungla. Orientarsi nell’editoria per ragazzi, Roma, Carocci, 2012.

Hunt, Peter, Criticism, Theory and Children’s Literature, Oxford, Blackwell, 1991.

Id., Children’s Literature, Oxford, Blackwell, 2001.

Hunt, Peter (ed.), Understanding Children’s Literature, London - New York, Routledge, 2002.

Id., International Companion Encyclopedia of Children’s Literature(1996), London - New York, Routledge, 2005.

Innocenti, Orsetta, La letteratura giovanile, Bari, Laterza, 2000.

Lerer, Seth, Children’s Literature. A Reader’s History from Aesop to Harry Potter, Chicago, Chicago University Press, 2008.

Lesnik-Oberstein, Karín, “Defining Children’s Literature and Childhood”, International Companion Encyclopedia of Children’s Literature (1996), Ed. Peter Hunt, London - New York, Routledge, 2005: 15-29.

Id., “Essentials: What is Children’s Literature? What is Childhood?”,Understanding Children’s Literature, Ed. Peter Hunt, London - New York, Routledge, 2002: 15-29.

Lesnik-Oberstein, Karín (ed.), Children’s Literature. New Approaches, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.

Lesnik-Oberstein, Karín - Thompson, Stephen, “What is Queer Theory Doing with the Child?”,Parallax 8.1 (2002): 35-46.

Lundin, Anne, Constructing the Canon of Children’s Literature, London -New York, Routledge, 2004.

Nobile, Angelo - Giancane, Daniele - Marini, Carlo, Letteratura per l’infanzia e l’adolescenza, Brescia, La Scuola, 2014.

McCallum, Robyn, Ideologies of Identity in Adolescent Fiction. The Dialogic Construction of Subjectivity, New York - London, Garland Publishing, 1999.

Millis, Sara (ed.), Gendering the Reader, Hemel Hempstead, Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1994.

Montino, Davide, “La letteratura per l’infanzia nell’università italiana”, Andersen, 27 (2008): 30.

Morrison, Toni, “Disturbing Nurses and the Kindness of Sharks”, Playing in the Dark, Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1992: 63-91.

Negri, Martino, Lo spazio della pagina, l'esperienza del lettore. Per una didattica della letteratura nella scuola primaria, Trento, Erikson, 2012.

Nodelman, Perry, “Decoding the Images: Illustration and Picture Books”, Understanding Children’s Literature, Ed. Peter Hunt, London - New York, Routledge, 2002: 69-80.

Pardi, Francesca, Piccolo Uovo, Milano, Lo Stampatello, 2011 (illustrato da Altan).

Prince, Nathalie (ed.), La Littérature de jeunesse en question(s), Rennes, Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2009.

Pugh, Tison, Innocence, Heterosexuality, and The Queerness of Children’s Literature, London - New York, Routledge, 2011.

Sarland, Roger Meredith, Private Practices. Girls Reading Fiction and Constructing Identity, London, Taylor and Francis, 1994.

Rose, Jacqueline, The Case of Peter Pan or The Impossibility of Children’s Fiction(1984), Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1993.

Rudd, David, “Theorising and Theories: The Conditions of Possibility of Children’s Literature”, International Companion Encyclopedia of Children’s Literature (1996), Ed. Peter Hunt, London - New York, Routledge, 2005: 29-43.

Id., The Routledge Companion to Children’s Literature, London - New York, Routledge, 2010.

Sarland, Charles, “Ideology”, International Companion Encyclopedia of Children’s Literature (1996), Ed. Peter Hunt, London - New York, Routledge, 2005: 39-55.

Id., “The Impossibility of Innocence: Ideology, Politics, and Children’s Literature”, Understanding Children’s Literature, Ed. Peter Hunt, London - New York, Routledge, 2002: 39-55.

Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty, “CantheSubalternSpeak?”, Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture, Ed.CaryNelson -LawerenceGrossberg, Urbana, University of Illinois Press, 1988a: 271-313.

Id., In Other Worlds: Essays in Cultural Politics, London - New York, Routledge, 1988b.

Id., “Ethics and Politics in Tagore, Coetzee and Certain Scenes of Teaching”, Diacritics, 3.4(2002): 17-31.

Townsend, John Rowe, A Sense of Story: Essays on Contemporary Writers for Children, Philadelphia, J.B. Lippincott, 1971.

West, Mark I., “Censorship”, International Companion Encyclopedia of Children’s Literature(1996), Ed. Peter Hunt, London -New York, Routledge, 2005: 491-500.

West, Rebecca, “Come One, Come All: Luigi Malerba’s Diffuse Fictions”, The Lion and The Unicorn, 10 (1986): 95-107.

Williams, Raymond, Keywords. A Vocabulary of Culture and Society, New York, Oxford University Press, 1976.

Zipes, Jack, Sticks and Stones: The Troublesome Success of Children's Literature from "Slovenly Peter" to "Harry Potter", London - New York, Routledge, 2001.

Zornado,Joseph L., Inventing the Child: Culture, Ideology, and the Story of Childhood, New York, Garland, 2001.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13125/2039-6597/1705

NBN: http://nbn.depositolegale.it/urn%3Anbn%3Ait%3Aunica-16904

Article Metrics

Metrics Loading ...

Metrics powered by PLOS ALM




ISSN 2421-5821 

Between is published by the University of Cagliari - Maintenance for this OJS installation is provided by UniCA Open Journals, hosted by Sistema Bibliotecario di Ateneo.

Between Journal was founded in 2011 with the financial contribution of Fondazione Banco di Sardegna (years 2010-2011).

ISSN 2039-6597 

CC-By lockssDOAJ seal SPARC Europe