ELUSIVE CHILDHOOD: IMPOSSIBLE REPRESENTATIONS IN MODERN FIC

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9780814290828: ELUSIVE CHILDHOOD: IMPOSSIBLE REPRESENTATIONS IN MODERN FIC
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Elusive Childhood examines how discourse touched by the identity politics of youth might be revised for fairness. Susan Honeyman demonstrates this potential by reading representations of children from throughout the Modern episteme in works of such writers as Henry James, Edith Wharton, and James Baldwin. Identity politics have changed the way we classify literature by opening up the canon, but they have also changed the way we approach literature. We’ve learned to recognize that biology is not destiny—sex doesn’t necessarily determine gender or orientation, nor do fictitious absolutes like blood ratios measure ethnocultural identity, and so in an effort to avoid false generalizing about "others" we endorse individual self-representation, all the while recognizing how society constructs us.But when it comes to representing the position we call childhood, there is little opportunity in legitimated discourse for children’s self-representation and inadequate attention to social constructedness. Recognizing political inequity in literary representations of children, Honeyman proposes a method of reading child figuration in relief to impose as little adult prejudice as possible. This might be impossible for adults, yet it is necessary to attempt.

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About the Author:

Susan Honeyman is assistant professor of English in the Department of English at the University of Nebraska–Kearney.

Review:

"Honeyman opens the study of children’s literature in ways it needs to be opened, and makes a superb contribution." -- Beverly Lyon Clark, Wheaton College

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9780814210048: ELUSIVE CHILDHOOD: IMPOSSIBLE REPRESENTATIONS IN MODERN FICTION

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ISBN 10:  081421004X ISBN 13:  9780814210048
Publisher: Ohio State University Press, 2005
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