Poetics of Children's Literature by Zohar ShavitPoetics of Children's Literature by Zohar Shavit

Poetics of Children's Literature

byZohar Shavit

Paperback | November 1, 2009

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Since its emergence in the seventeenth century as a distinctive cultural system, children's literature has had a culturally inferior status resulting from its existence in a netherworld between the literary system and the educational system. In addition to its official readership-children-it has to be approved of by adults. Writers for children, explains Zohar Shavit, are constrained to respond to these multiple systems of often mutually contradictory demands. Most writers do not try to bypass these constraints, but accept them as a framework for their work. In the most extreme cases an author may ignore one segment of the readership. If the adult reader is ignored, the writer risks rejection, as is the case of popular literature. If the writer utilizes the child as a pseudo addressee in order to appeal to an adult audience, the result can be what Shavit terms an ambivalent work.

Shavit analyzes the conventions and the moral aims that have structured children's literature, from the fairy tales collected and reworked by Charles Perrault and the Brothers Grimm-in particular, "Little Red Riding Hood"-through the complex manipulations of Lewis Carroll in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, to the subversion of the genre's canonical requirements in the chapbooks of the eighteenth century, and in the formulaic Nancy Drew books of the twentieth century. Throughout her study Shavit, explores not only how society has shaped children's literature, but also how society has been reflected in the literary works it produces for its children.

Zohar Shavit is a full professor at the Unit for Culture Research in the School of Culture Research at the Tel-Aviv University. She is the author of ten books, among them: The Literary Life in Eretz-Israel, 1910-1933, The Construction of Hebrew Culture in Eretz Israel, A Past without Shadow, and German-Jewish Literature for Children an...
Title:Poetics of Children's LiteratureFormat:PaperbackDimensions:216 pages, 8 × 5 × 12 inPublished:November 1, 2009Publisher:University of Georgia PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0820334812

ISBN - 13:9780820334813


Editorial Reviews

A landmark piece of scholarship which, through its reconciliation of more traditional and historical models with recent developments in the area of semiotics, initiates a new stage of research in children's literature. . . . [It] will undoubtedly come to be considered a seminal piece of research in this field.

- Canadian Review of Comparative Literature