Aesthetic Approaches to Childrens Literature: An Introduction


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Bestselling Series. Harry Potter. Popular Features. New Releases. Description This work provides students of children's literature with a comprehensible and easy-to-use analytical tool kit, showing through concrete demonstration how each tool might best be used to examine aesthetic rather than educational approaches to children's literature.

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Contemporary literary theories discussed include semiotics, hermeneutics, structuralism, narratology, psychoanalysis, reader-response, feminist, and postcolonial theory, each adjusted to suit the specifics of children's literature. This page uses JavaScript for certain types of content, so we strongly recommend that you enable JavaScript for browsing this site. Over its multiple printings and editions the newest co-edited by Mavis Reimer , Pleasures of Children's Literature has reigned supreme in the world of children's literature textbooks, especially those used in courses taught by English faculty.

Nodelman's approach sets it apart from the other textbooks of its kind, as it focuses on the "pleasures" children's texts can offer to both children and adults. However, he avoids condescending to children, for he defines pleasure broadly, recognizing that some children — like some adults — take pleasure in more than plot, more than character. So it's hard out there, as they say, for textbook authors, as their efforts are immediately compared — often unfavorably — to Nodelman's touchstone of a book. One suspects that Pleasures is the reason we don't have more children's literature textbooks positioned from within the discipline of English Studies as opposed to Education.

Imagine the number of readers' reports that include the sentence, "Nodelman's already done it — and he did it better. In Pleasures , Nodelman and Reimer — while they attend to aesthetic matters — adopt a cultural studies perspective.

Children's Literature: A Very Short Introduction

The title of Nikolajeva's offering, however, suggests a book that organizes around aesthetic questions specifically. Readers of ImageTexT — especially those of us who are teachers — would no doubt find this sort of inquiry eminently useful, as there are all too few textbooks which wrestle with the tricky issue of aesthetic value and the ideological roots of such value. Nikolajeva's promising title is misleading. By aesthetics, she seems to mean structure , as in structuralism , and, even more narrowly, narrative theory. Despite its title, Nikolajeva's book does not focus on aesthetic issues.

It is a book on narratology and a good one — if you find that theoretical approach interesting , but one that largely sidesteps the questions that the last half-century of theorizing has raised. The book is a largely tacit repudiation of post-structuralism and post-modernism, a repudiation of cultural studies and the political implications of the same.

Aesthetic Approaches to Children's Literature by Maria Nikolajeva | Waterstones

Ultimately, it is a return to structuralism disguised as aesthetics. For instance, in her preface, Nikolajeva notes that "students gladly accept critical theory and the analytical tools it offers as long as they are presented in an accessible and meaningful way, that is, not theory for its own sake, but theory as support for the concrete study of literature" vi.

She later uses the word "toolkit" for theory, suggesting that theory offers simply a set of "tools" useful in the discussion and analysis of something unproblematically called "literature," or, in this case, "children's literature. The introduction asks "whether children's literature is different from any other kind of literature, what we normally call adult, or general, or mainstream literature" xi. The contested nature of "what we normally call adult, or general, or mainstream literature" is ignored, as is the contested nature of "children's literature" itself.

In a later chapter, "The Aesthetic of the Medium," she begins promisingly:.

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Aesthetic Approaches to Children's Literature : An Introduction

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Aesthetic Approaches to Childrens Literature: An Introduction Aesthetic Approaches to Childrens Literature: An Introduction
Aesthetic Approaches to Childrens Literature: An Introduction Aesthetic Approaches to Childrens Literature: An Introduction
Aesthetic Approaches to Childrens Literature: An Introduction Aesthetic Approaches to Childrens Literature: An Introduction
Aesthetic Approaches to Childrens Literature: An Introduction Aesthetic Approaches to Childrens Literature: An Introduction
Aesthetic Approaches to Childrens Literature: An Introduction Aesthetic Approaches to Childrens Literature: An Introduction
Aesthetic Approaches to Childrens Literature: An Introduction Aesthetic Approaches to Childrens Literature: An Introduction

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