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New Directions in Children’s Gothic : Debatable Lands (Hardcover)

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This volume compliments The Gothic in Children’s Literature (2007), which addressed a gap in the critical literature between adult Gothic narrative and children’s and young adult literature in the Gothic tradition, discussing the early intersection of the genres and the contemporary manifestations of the gothic impulse. The dramatic uptake of the Gothic in children’s publishing since then necessitates revisiting and updating those intersections, and this new collection offers an analysis of the forms and function of the Gothic in children’s literature in the new millennium. Essays by key figures in the field explore the new face of the Gothic, considering in particular how and why this new Gothic has achieved such a strong presence in youth literature. The first decade of the 21st century has seen a publishing storm of vampire fiction and other paranormal fantasies bringing into the contemporary imagination new versions of fairies (or faeries), angels, demons, werewolves, zombies, ghosts and witches. These reimagined denizens of darkness have changed the look of youth literature, finding their way into literature for younger and younger children and quite literally dominating young adult literature. The volumes discusses how the Gothic characters of contemporary youth literature, rather than villains who violate the innocent, are as often as not misunderstood heroes, lost souls looking for redemption, even harbingers of a more expansive definition of what it means to be human. It asks how this type of literature helps readers contextualize and understand their psychological and social environments during periods of individual growth, cultural change, global terror, and economic uncertainty. Mapping the 21st century landscape of the Gothic in youth literature, this book will contribute to the fields of children’s literature, gothic studies, and YA fantasy, and the dystopic aspects of contemporary writing.

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