Title
The adult as foe or friend? Childism in Guus Kuijer's criticism and fiction The adult as foe or friend? Childism in Guus Kuijer's criticism and fiction
Author
Faculty/Department
Faculty of Arts. Linguistics and Literature
Publication type
article
Publication
Edinburgh ,
Subject
Literature
Source (journal)
International research in children's literature. - Edinburgh
Volume/pages
6(2013) :2 , p. 205-217
ISSN
1755-6198
ISI
000330368300007
Carrier
E
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
Affiliation
University of Antwerp
Abstract
Compared to the attention that children's literature scholars have paid to the construction of childhood in children's literature and the role of adults as authors, mediators and readers of children's books, few researchers have made a systematic study of adults as characters in children's books. This article analyses the construction of adulthood in a selection of texts by the Dutch author and Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award winner Guus Kuijer and connects them with Elisabeth Young-Bruehl's recent concept of 'childism' - a form of prejudice targeted against children. Whereas Kuijer published a severe critique of adulthood in Het geminachte kind [The despised child] (1980), in his literary works he explores a variety of positions that adults can take towards children, with varying degrees of childist features. Such a systematic and comparative analysis of the way grown-ups are characterised in children's texts helps to shed light on a didactic potential that materialises in different adult subject positions. After all, not only literary and artistic aspects of children's literature may be aimed at the adult reader (as well as the child), but also the didactic aspect of children's books can cross over between different age groups.
E-info
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