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Keywords for Childrens Literature

Keywords for Childrens Literature

Philip Nel
Lissa Paul
Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 293
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  • Book Info
    Keywords for Childrens Literature
    Book Description:

    The study of children's literature and culture has been experiencing a renaissance, with vital new work proliferating across many areas of interest. Mapping this vibrant scholarship, Keywords for Children's Literature presents 49 original essays on the essential terms and concepts of the field. From Aesthetics to Young Adult, an impressive, multidisciplinary cast of scholars explores the vocabulary central to the study of children's literature. Following the growth of his or her word, each author traces its branching uses and meanings, often into unfamiliar disciplinary territories: Award-winning novelist Philip Pullman writes about Intentionality, Education expert Margaret Meek Spencer addresses Reading, literary scholar Peter Hunt historicizes Children's Literature, Psychologist Hugh Crago examines Story, librarian and founder of the influential Child_Lit litserv Michael Joseph investigates Liminality. The scope, clarity, and interdisciplinary play between concepts make this collection essential reading for all scholars in the field. In the spirit of Raymond Williams' seminal Keywords, this book is a snapshot of a vocabulary of children's literature that is changing, expanding, and ever unfinished.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-5889-2
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vi-vi)
  4. Introduction:
    (pp. 1-4)
    Philip Nel and Lissa Paul

    Since about 1970, scholarship in children’s literature has brought together people from the fields of literature, education, library and information science, cultural studies, and media studies. “Children’s literature” itself has become a kind of umbrella term encompassing a wide range of disciplines, genres, and media. of the challenges of children’s literature studies that scholars from disparate disciplines use the same terms in different ways. As a result, meanings can be blurred and cross-disciplinary conversations confused. Drawing on the expertise of scholars in many fields,Keywords for Children’s Literatureresponds to the need a shared vocabulary by mapping the history of...

  5. 1 Aesthetics
    (pp. 5-9)
    Joseph T. Thomas Jr.

    There is perhaps no more vexing, fraught, and neglected concept in the study of children’s literature thanaesthetics. No doubt the neglect of a serious, theoretical inquiry into the aesthetics of children’s literature stems from our contemporary understandings of the discipline of children’s literature itself. The study of children’s literature has, historically, been the work of librarians and educators of children. Children’s literature came to be seen as an appropriate site of purely literary study only after the rise and fall of mid-twentieth century New Critical and formalist modes of criticism, a state of affairs made possible by the inchoate...

  6. 2 African American
    (pp. 9-13)
    Michelle Martin

    From the beginnings of African American children’s around the turn of the twentieth century, parameters of what should be included has been much of a source of conflict as the terminology used this group of people. Commenting on the contested nature of this genre, Dianne Johnson (1990) asserts inTelling Tales: the Pedagogy and Promise of African Literature for Youth:

    Like children’s literature, as a broad category,

    African American children’s literature is a label

    which refers to the intended audience. On the

    other hand, like Afro-American literature, Black

    children’s literature refers to the ethnic and racial

    identities of the authors....

  7. 3 Audience
    (pp. 14-17)
    Beverly Lyon Clark

    The term “audience” has only relatively recently come to acquire its dominant modern meaning, referring to the viewers of an entertainment or readers of a book. The earliest such usage listed in theOxford English Dictionary(OED) dates to 1855 . Earlier meanings include “[t]he action of hearing” (dating from c. 1374) and a “[f]ormal hearing,” often with royalty or with a judge (from 1377 ). Derived from the Latinaudire, to hear, the term has a special resonance for children’s literature, for the youngest children are not readers but rather auditors of literature, truly an audience. Indeed the broad...

  8. 4 Body
    (pp. 17-21)
    Kelly Hager

    The Oxford English Dictionary’s(OED) definition of “body”—”the material frame of man (and animals)”—immediately sets before us one of the term’s principal controversies in children’s literature. That is, what Peter Hunt (1984) would call the adultist, not to mention the sexist, nature of theOED’s language reminds us that the matter of the corporeal is often not deemed proper for the consideration of children and is frequently bound up with questions of gender and the adult body. But when we consider theOED’s elaboration on this definition—“the material body and its properties”—the physical nature of the...

  9. 5 Boyhood
    (pp. 21-25)
    Eric L. Tribunella

    Along with childhood and girlhood, boyhood is central to the definition of children’s literature. John Newbery’sA Little Pretty Pocket-Book(1744), frequently credited with igniting the children’s literature industry, addressed boys and girls separately as distinct audiences: The book was available for purchase with a ball for boys and a pincushion for girls. Filled with descriptions of games specifically for boys and referring to boy players, the 1787 edition published by Isaiah Thomas in the United States paid additional attention to boys by including a prefatory address to adults about how to raise a healthy, virtuous, and wiseson, thereby...

  10. 6 Censorship
    (pp. 26-30)
    David Booth

    The earliest reference to “censor” appears as “one of two magistrates of ancient Rome” (Oxford English Dictionary[OED]), who in addition to taking the census (that is, the registration of citizens, originally for tax purposes), supervised public morals and censured the population (Columbia Encyclopedia2008). The English words “censor” and “census” are from the Latincensere, which means to appraise, value, judge, consider or assess; “censure” is from the Latincensura, meaning judgment. During the era in which these terms originated, Cato the Elder (234–149 B.C.E.) undertook a vigorous campaign to stem the infiltration of Greek culture (Knowles 2006)


  11. 7 Character
    (pp. 31-34)
    Jay Mechling

    The concept of character has two uses in children’s literature discourse. One use belongs to literary criticism, as the critic and reader observe the people in a story or novel as “characters,” that is, as agents or actors (Burke 1973 ) whose actions move a story through time. The other use refers to the moral qualities of a person. These uses of “character” are related, as the root of the English word lies in a Greek word for a tool used to mark or engrave a material (Oxford English Dictionary[OED]).

    By the seventeenth century, the English word came to...

  12. 8 Childhood
    (pp. 35-41)
    Karen Sánchez-Eppler

    “Childhood” is an ancient word in English, not a young one. TheOxford English Dictionarytakes as its earliest example for “cildhad” an English gloss inserted during the tenth century between the lines of the Lindisfarne Gospels. The meaning expressed there appears consistent with the most literal strand of our contemporary usage: this passage from the Gospel of Mark (“soð he cuoeð from cildhad”; 9:21) employs childhood as a temporal marker: a father explains to Jesus that his son had been wracked by fits since the earliest years of his life. The miraculous cure Jesus performs stands as a test...

  13. 9 Children’s Literature
    (pp. 42-47)
    Peter Hunt

    “Children’s literature” is a term used to describe both a set of texts and an academic discipline—and it is often regarded as an oxymoron. If “children” commonly connotes immaturity, and “literature” commonly connotes sophistication in texts and reading, then the two terms may seem to be incompatible. Henry James, in “The Future of the Novel” (1900b), observed that “the literature, as it may be called for convenience, of children, is an industry,” but not one to be taken seriously: “the sort of taste that used to be called ‘good’ has nothing to do with the matter; we are demonstrably...

  14. 10 Class
    (pp. 48-52)
    Elizabeth Bullen

    The word “class” comes to English from the Latinclassisvia the Frenchclasse. It first appears in Thomas Blount’sGlossographia(1656), where he defined it in the language of the times as “an order or distribution of people according to their several Degrees.” Citing Blount, theOxford English Dictionary(OED) traces the term’s origins to its use by Servius Tullius who, seeking to raise funds for the Roman military, conducted a census for the purpose of taxing citizens according to their means. He created six categories or classes, based on property or net wealth (Kostick 2005). In spite of...

  15. 11 Classic
    (pp. 52-58)
    Kenneth Kidd

    In her study of comparative children’s literature, Emer O’Sullivan (2001) notes that children’s classics come from three sources: (1) appropriations of adult works; (2) adaptations from traditional (usually oral) narratives; and (3) works written specifically for children. A classic, then, could be a text adopted by children as well as a work written for them. But, as O’Sullivan’s study also makes clear, things are not so simple. “Classic” is an overdetermined and elastic term, one encompassing very different ideas and attitudes. The notion of a children’s classic amplifies the contradictions of the term, especially to the degree that children’s literature...

  16. 12 Crossover Literature
    (pp. 58-61)
    Sandra L. Beckett

    In children’s literature scholarship, “crossover” refers to literature that crosses from child to adult or adult to child audiences. While crossover literature is not a new phenomenon, the term itself was not adopted until J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books gave this literature a high profile. Although the term was in use in the late 1990 s, it did not emerge as a common expression until the early years of the new millennium. While the crossover phenomenon actually began earlier in the visual media, with television shows (Star Trek,The Simpsons), films (E.T.,Toy Story), comics (Charlie Brown), and video...

  17. 13 Culture
    (pp. 62-66)
    Richard Flynn

    “Culture,” writes Raymond Williams (1983a), “is one of the two or three most complicated words in the English language.” When it is applied to the study of children and their literature, it is certainly one of the most contested as well. The Latinculturais derived from the past participial stem of the root wordcolere: to cultivate, to worship. According to theOxford English Dictionary, later meanings are divided into three branches:

    I. The cultivation of land, and derived senses.

    II. Worship.

    III. Extended uses (from branch I.).

    While the second branch meaning is obsolete and rare, many of...

  18. 14 Domestic
    (pp. 67-70)
    Claudia Nelson

    The term “domestic” derives from the Latindomus(house), through the Middle Frenchdomestique. TheOxford English Dictionary’s (OED) earliest usages are early sixteenth century, by which time the word already had multiple meanings: the achievement of quasi-familial intimacy, as in the 1521 supplication “make hym domestique /Within the heuyns,” but also homegrown rather than foreign. While “domestic” always implied closeness, the extent of the sphere of proximity varied. That sphere might be the individual (John Norris’s 1707Treatise on Humilitydefines “domestic ignorance” as “the ignorance of . . . what passes within our own breast,” notes theOED);...

  19. 15 Education
    (pp. 70-74)
    Elisabeth Rose Gruner

    In bothKeywords(Williams 1983a) andNew KeywordsBennett, Grossberg, and Morris 2005), “education”Keywordshas “educate”) is primarily an institutional practice, which, after the late eighteenth century, is increasingly formalized and universalized in Western countries. Bearing the twin senses of “to lead forth” from the Latineducere) and “to bring up” (from the Latineducare), “education” appears chiefly as an action practiced by adults on children. TheOxford English Dictionarythus defines the term as “the systematic instruction, schooling, or training given to the young in preparation for the work of life.”

    Education may be primarily vocational, leading children...

  20. 16 Empire
    (pp. 75-78)
    Jo-Ann Wallace and Stephen Slemon

    A barrage of associated terminology attends the advance of empire, and none of it fires with exactitude.“Imperialism” usually refers to “the practice, the theory, and the attitudes of a dominating metropolitan centre ruling a distant territory” (Said 1993)—that is to say, the politics, the economics, and the enabling ideology behind the promulgation of empires. “Colonialism” is generally understood as the assemblage of ways by which one nation or people imposes direct rule over another nation or people. “Colonization” refers specifically to the establishment of settler colonies in foreign lands. “Neo-colonialism,” a term coined by kwame Nkrumah (the first president of...

  21. 17 Fantasy
    (pp. 79-86)
    Deirdre Baker

    The history of fantasy in the realm of children’s literature has been one of forceful contradictions: on the one hand, fantasy is criticized as being fraudulent, irrational, and overly imaginative; on the other, it is criticized for being formulaic, escapist, and not imaginative enough. The seeds of this debate lie in early uses of the word, which seem to have little to do with literature per se, but nevertheless powerfully influenced the activity of imagination over centuries. Fantasy’s potency in relation to children’s literature reflects its potency in relation to literature in general: it takes us into the heart of...

  22. 18 Gender
    (pp. 86-92)
    Erica Hateley

    TheOxford English Dictionary(OED) informs us that “gender” has at its root the Latingenus, meaning “race, kind,” and emerges as early as the fifth century as a term for differentiating between types—especially those of people and words. In the ensuing 1,500 years, “gender” appears in linguistic and biological contexts to distinguish types of words and bodies from one another, as when words in Indo-European languages were identified as masculine, feminine, or neuter, and humans were identified as male or female. It is telling that gender has historically (whether overtly or covertly) been a tool of negotiation between...

  23. 19 Girlhood
    (pp. 92-95)
    Jacqueline Reid-Walsh

    According to theOxford English Dictionary(OED), “girlhood” has been in use from the mid-eighteenth century until the present day as both a singular and a plural noun. From the first cited use—notably, in Samuel Richardson’sClarissa(1747–48), a novel concerning the paragon of virtuous adolescent girlhood—the term “girlhood” has had a history as an ideologically loaded term in Western culture. As the following brief definitions indicate, several meanings overlap: “The state of being a girl; the time of life during which one is a girl. Also: girls collectively.” Its different denotations and connotations make for a...

  24. 20 Golden Age
    (pp. 96-99)
    Angela Sorby

    The “Golden Age” is a Greco-Roman concept, introduced in Hesiod’sWorks and Days,which pictures a race of men who “lived like gods without sorrow of heart, remote and free from toil and grief: miserable age rested not on them; but with legs and arms never failing they made merry with feasting beyond the reach of all evils” (2007). In children’s literature, the term was first proposed by the mid-twentieth century British biographer (and Inkling) Roger Lancelyn Green, whose use of it was ideologically freighted but historically useful. Since Green, however, the term has spread and morphed to become a...

  25. 21 Graphic Novel
    (pp. 100-105)
    Charles Hatfield

    Nowhere has the fissure between adult-sanctioned and self-selected children’s reading been more boldly marked than in regard to comics, an internationally popular form that has often been seen as the province of amoral profiteers rather than a domain of children’s literature. If comics have at last “arrived” as a children’s genre, then this new acceptance has been spurred by enthusiasm for the graphic novel, the bulwark of comics’ recent claims to literariness.

    The term “graphic novel” has fuzzy borders and origins. TheOxford English Dictionary(OED) defines “graphic” as “of or pertaining to drawing or painting,” and “novel” as “a...

  26. 22 Home
    (pp. 106-109)
    Mavis Reimer

    The word “home” comes into English through the Teutonic languages of northern Europe, carrying with it the multiple meanings of world, village, homestead, dwelling, and safe dwelling, as well as indicating a direction, as it continues to do in a phrase such as “go home.” The primary meaning in contemporary usages of the word is “the seat of domestic life and interests.” In this sense, the word is close to the Latindomus, from which the adjective “domestic” is derived. As well as referring to a building or place, however, “home” also refers to the quality of feelings associated with...

  27. 23 Identity
    (pp. 109-112)
    Karen Coats

    In the various branches of the natural, mathematical, and human sciences, “identity” has a range of uses related to the property of sameness or consistency of an element regardless of the influence of other variables. “Personal identity,” the subset most relevant to studies children’s literature, is defined in theOxford English Dictionary(OED) as “the sameness of a person or thing all times and in all circumstances; the condition or fact that a person or thing is itself and not something else.” This definition has a rigidity that most contemporary scholars of children’s literature will find objectionable. Rather than being...

  28. 24 Ideology
    (pp. 113-116)
    Elizabeth Parsons

    Based on the classical Greek wordsideo, meaning idea, andology, referring to a branch of knowledge, a systemic set of ideas, or a form of discourse, the concatenated word “ideology” derives from the Frenchideologie. The concept arose as part of a French philosophical movement in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century period of Enlightenment, and its original meaning was to denote a science of ideas. In the nineteenth century, the term was taken up by Karl Marx to label the unconscious system of beliefs in a social group, and specifically socioeconomic class structures (Bennett, Grossberg, and Morris...

  29. 25 Image
    (pp. 116-120)
    Nathalie op de Beeck

    Depending on the speaker (children’s author, literary critic, art historian, advertising designer, painter) and the venue (bookstore, literature conference, gallery, marketing meeting), the term “image” implies an array of connotations, purposes, and audiences (Mitchell 1986). In the hybrid contexts of the twenty-first century—where visual culture, visual studies, and visual literacy are related but contested terms—“image” crosses disciplinary boundaries and characterizes multimodal activities in classrooms and communication. For children’s literature, an interdisciplinary field drawing upon many scholarly discourses, pedagogical approaches, and modes of creative expression, “image” is a complex and provisional term, always at play and in flux.


  30. 26 Innocence
    (pp. 121-127)
    Marah Gubar

    Pondering the immense popularity of young starlets such as Deanna Durbin and Shirley Temple, Grahame Greene (1993) declared in 1939, “Innocence is a tricky subject: its appeal is not always so clean as a whistle.” While Temple’s charm ostensibly lay in her perfect purity, he argued, in fact she functioned as a highly eroticized figure. Indeed, Temple’s first films were a series of shorts known as “Baby Burlesks” that placed tiny children in compromising positions. “Boy, she’s hot stuff!” remarks one of Temple’s male admirers in one of these shorts (War Babies[Lamont 1932]), and her later films likewise situate...

  31. 27 Intention
    (pp. 128-133)
    Philip Pullman

    “What was your intention when writing this book?” “What did you mean by the passage on page 108 ?” “What did you want the reader to feel at the end?” “What message did you intend the book to deliver?”

    Authors of novels, especially novels for children, know that questions such as these are not uncommon. This might be surprising, in view of the fact that more than sixty years have gone by since William K. Wimsatt and Monroe C. Beardsley published their famous essay “The Intentional Fallacy” (1946 ), except that somehow it isn’t surprising at all to find that...

  32. 28 Latino/a
    (pp. 133-137)
    Phillip Serrato

    As a proper noun, “Latino” designates a resident of United States who is of Latin American descent. an adjective, it renders the noun that it modifies somehow pertinent to or associated with such individuals. While theOxford English Dictionarytraces the use of the label back to the 1940s, it did not gain widespread currency until the 1980s. As Suzanne Oboler (1995) observes, “Latino” emerged as a counter to Hispanic,” an umbrella term resented by many who into its fold as “an artifact created and imposed by state administrative agencies.” Among other things, “Hispanic” implicitly cleaned up the genealogy of...

  33. 29 Liminality
    (pp. 138-141)
    Michael Joseph

    Although the phenomenon of liminality appears in the earliest children’s texts, it doesn’t appear in children’s literature scholarship until the beginning of the twenty-first century, chiefly in the adjective form, “liminal,” a polyseme whose other meanings relate to psychology and mysticism. “Liminality” is a coinage from the Scottish anthropologist Victor Turner (1969 ), who drew on “liminaire,” a term used by Arnold Van Gennep (1909) in his ethnographical writings on preindustrial societies to designate the middle, transitional stage of a three-stage paradigmatic rite of passage (“rites which accompany every change of place, state, social position and age”). Joseph Campbell adapted...

  34. 30 Literacy
    (pp. 141-145)
    Lissa Paul

    InKeywords, the term “literacy” does not have an entry of its own. Instead, Raymond Williams (1976) traces its evolution from its fourteenth-century root, “literature.” For the first three hundred years of its life, “literature” was an all-purpose word referring sometimes to “being well-read,” and at other times to “the books in which a man is well-read” (Williams 1976). Gradually, this common-ancestor word divided into several distinct species: the root-word, “literature,” strengthened its links to nationhood (as in English literature or French literature); “literate” came to describe being well-read; “literary” became associated with the “profession of authorship”; and “literacy” arose...

  35. 31 Marketing
    (pp. 146-150)
    June Cummins

    At its most basic level, the word “marketing” refers to the “action of buying or selling” (Oxford English Dictionary[OED]) and always implies some sort of exchange, usually involving goods, services, or ideas—and money. A common usage of “marketing” that directly affects children’s literature is “the action, business, or process of promoting and selling a product” (OED). Since the advent of the printing press, literature has been intimately related to marketing. It is self-evident that developing technologies made widespread literacy possible; what may take some explaining is that marketing is as essential to the development and dissemination of children’s...

  36. 32 Modernism
    (pp. 151-154)
    Kimberley Reynolds

    Arguably no word maps the kind of cultural shifts in language that Raymond Williams (1976) was documenting better than “modernism.” At its simplest this is because of its roots in the word “modern.” Inevitably, what is modern at one time eventually becomes dated and of its time, and so from the first recorded use of that root word in 1500, through the appearance of the word “modernism” itself in 1737, to the fin de siècle, it was a shifting signifier, referring to the present of any given period, rather than a specific historical moment or movement (Shorter Oxford English Dictionary),...

  37. 33 Multicultural
    (pp. 155-160)
    Debra Dudek

    The term “multicultural” and its associated “-ism” have been the focus of many debates in literary, educational, political, and sociological circles since the terms were coined. “Multicultural” first appeared in theNew York Herald Tribunein 1941: “A fervent sermon against nationalism, national prejudice and behavior in favor of a ‘multicultural’ way of life” (Oxford English Dictionary[OED]). The second usage, in 1959 by theNew York Times, both narrows and broadens the definition by connecting a culturally diverse city to cosmopolitanism. In 1965, the adjective “multicultural” expanded into the noun “multiculturalism” in thePreliminary Report of the Royal Commission...

  38. 34 Nature
    (pp. 161-164)
    Peter Hollindale

    For the environmentalist and literary critic alike, “nature” has multiple meanings. The zoologist Colin Tudge (2005) observes that “alldefinitions of nature are simply for convenience, helping us to focus on the particular aspect that we happen to be thinking about at the time.” Of the General Prologue to Chaucer’sCanterbury Tales(1387), the literary critic John F. Danby (1961) notes that for Chaucer, the word has three dimensions: Nature is a kind of goddess, the collective force of animate life; it is the material world of organic growth and change; and it is the responsive disposition in the hearts...

  39. 35 Nonsense
    (pp. 165-169)
    Michael Heyman and Kevin Shortsleeve

    In his introduction toThe Chatto Book of Nonsense, Hugh Haughton (1988) comments that “nonsense is a bit of a problem.” Haughton is alluding to a set of semantic and literary “difficulties” that have surrounded “nonsense” since the term came into common usage in the seventeenth century. At first the word was used mostly in its literal sense, meaning that which makes no sense, or that which is useless, but a new meaning emerged over the next two hundred years, referring to a particular literary phenomenon. The interactions between these senses of the word are at the heart of some...

  40. 36 Picture Book
    (pp. 169-173)
    William Moebius

    No keyword in children’s literature could be quite as fluid in its application as the one word “picturebook” the two-word “picture book.” The cultural medium which this locution refers is itself quite malleable and can be stretched to include: nonprint pictorial media for children or adults on the internet; picture-book format” or, following the German cognate,Bilderbuch, “a type of visual encyclopedia”; humorous simulacra adults such as the recentGoodnight Bush(Origen and Golan 2008); or the once risquéHome Sweet Zoo(Barnes 1950). Or it can simply be a book with pictures in it; Henry James in 1900 called...

  41. 37 Popular
    (pp. 174-177)
    Julie A. S. Cassidy

    While the definition of the term “popular” has remained relatively unchanged for over four hundred years, its connotation certainly takes on new meaning when applied to children’s literature. InKeywords, Raymond Williams (1983a) reports that the term “popular” was “originally a legal and political term” that first came into the English language in the late fifteenth century. Within the domain of the legal system, an “action popular” was any suit that was open to or brought forth by anyone who was part of the general public. According to theOxford English Dictionary(OED), in the early sixteenth century the term...

  42. 38 Postcolonial
    (pp. 177-181)
    Clare Bradford

    The word “postcolonial” refers (I) to a period or state following (that is, “post”) colonialism, and (2) to the effects of colonization upon cultures, peoples, places, textuality. The terms most often associated with “postcolonial” are “imperialism,” which denotes the formation of an empire, and “ colonialism,” which refers to the establishment of colonies by an imperial power that maintains control over them. The first usage of “postcolonial” (or “post-colonial”) identified inOxford English Dictionary(OED) occurs in 1883 in theCentury Illustrated Monthly Magazine(White 1883), where it denotes “occurring or existing after the end colonial rule.” This association of...

  43. 39 Postmodernism
    (pp. 181-185)
    Philip Nel

    “Postmodernism” denotes an historical period, a style, or a cultural logic. If an historical period, then the word meansafter modernism—although when, precisely, modernism ended is debatable: 1939, 1945, and 1950 are common dates, but the term “postmodernism” crops up well before then. TheOxford English Dictionary(OED) finds J. M. Thompson in 1914 using “Post-Modernism” to describe a shift in Christian thinking that would “escape from the double-mindedness of Modernism.” A still earlier example eluded theOED: circa 1870, the English painter John Watkins Chapman spoke of “postmodern painting,” which he alleged was more avant-garde than French impressionism...

  44. 40 Queer
    (pp. 186-189)
    Kerry Mallan

    The word “queer” is a slippery one; its etymology is uncertain, and academic and popular usage attributes conflicting meanings to the word. By the mid-nineteenth century, “queer” was used as a pejorative term for a (male) homosexual. This negative connotation continues when it becomes a term for homophobic abuse. In recent years, “queer” has taken on additional uses: as an all-encompassing term for culturally marginalized sexualities—gay, lesbian, bi, trans, and intersex (GLBTI)—and as a theoretical strategy for deconstructing the binary oppositions that govern identity formation. Tracing its history, theOxford English Dictionarynotes that the earliest references to...

  45. 41 Race
    (pp. 189-193)
    Katharine Capshaw Smith

    A term with a variety of charged meanings and purposes, “race” arose in English in the sixteenth century from the French “race” and the Italian “razza” and has been employed as a means of grouping individuals by ethnic, social, or national background. While the term has been applied generally to a range of collective identities— including the “human race” (Williams 1976) or the “German race” (Murji 2005)—at present the term invokes categorization attached to imagined physical similarities or to a group’s own sense of collective ideals and history. “Race” as a term points both backward toward injurious histories of...

  46. 42 Reading
    (pp. 193-197)
    Margaret Meek Spencer

    As recent classical scholarship makes plain, reading is a human, deictic invention. Evidence comes from the evolution of ancient alphabetic writing systems: Sumerian (cuneiform), Akkadian (Gilgamesh), Ugaritic (a fine, delicate script), and Egyptian hieroglyphs. Texts on stone and papyrus proved to be more lasting ways of recalling past events than human memory. Long, long before twentieth-century educators would debate whether reading should be taught by phonics or meaning-based methods, the Sumerians showed their young writers how to make word lists on clay tablets by incorporating elements of both of these pedagogies in their instruction. The later, successful Greek alphabet was...

  47. 43 Realism
    (pp. 198-201)
    Cathryn M. Mercier

    Unlike the term “fantasy,” “realism” (or “realistic fiction”) doesn’t always appear as a distinct category in reference books about children’s literature. TheNorton Anthology of Children’s Literature(Zipes et al. 2005) includes sections on legends, myth, fairy tales, fantasy, and science fiction, but no single entry on realistic fiction. TheNorton Anthologydoes devote sections to adventures, school stories, and domestic fiction, and excerpts from seminal titles that have realistic qualities, such asFrom the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler(Konigsburg 1967). Similarly, Perry Nodelman and Mavis Reimer’sThe Pleasures of Children’s Literature(2003) includes sections on poetry,...

  48. 44 Science Fiction
    (pp. 202-207)
    A. Waller Hastings

    The term “science fiction” denotes a genre of imaginative literature distinguished from realism by its speculation about things that cannot happen in the world as we know it, and from fantasy by abjuring the use of magic or supernatural. In science fiction, all phenomena and events described are theoretically possible under the laws of physics, even though they may not at present be achievable. Stated in this way, it would appear that works belonging to the genre would be easily identifiable. However, critics of science fiction have struggled to find an adequate definition almost since the term was coined and...

  49. 45 Story
    (pp. 207-213)
    Hugh Crago

    Historically, “story” is probably one of the most frequently employed words in relation to children’s literature. Yet despite its constant use by reviewers and critics over much of the history of fiction written specifically for young people, it has rarely been defined or analyzed. In its apparent simplicity, taken-for-grantedness, and resistance to deconstruction, the term establishes itself as something unquestioned, like the nature of “childhood” or “the child” itself. “Story” is missing from the index of numerous works where one might reasonably expect to find it—such as Katherine Nelson’sNarratives from the Crib(1989), a psycholinguistic study of the...

  50. 46 Theory
    (pp. 213-219)
    David Rudd

    The word “theory” appears in Raymond Williams’s originalKeywords(1976). He traces its origins back to the Greektheoros, meaning “spectator,” with its root inthea, for “sight,” which also gave us “theater.” As more recent commentators put it, “[T]he literal sense of looking has then been metaphorized to that of contemplating or speculating” (Wolfreys et al. 2006). The term became increasingly opposed to “practice,” not only as something removed from the everyday, but also as something involved in attempts to explain and model the everyday. Although the title of Williams’s work—Keywords—implicitly underwrites the importance of language, his...

  51. 47 Tomboy
    (pp. 220-224)
    Michelle Ann Abate

    Although the rise of feminism and the advent of queer theory make tomboyism seem like a relatively contemporary phenomenon, the concept originated in the sixteenth century. Interestingly, the term “tomboy” initially referred to rowdy gentlemen courtiers rather than boisterous young women. The first listing in theOxford English Dictionary(OED), from 1533, defines “tomboy” as a “rude, boisterous or forward boy.” Several decades later, in the 1570s, the term shifted from characterizing a spirited young man to a like-minded young woman. In so doing, it also acquired newfound sexual associations and age coordinates. “Tomboy” lost the innocently playful connotations it...

  52. 48 Voice
    (pp. 225-228)
    Mike Cadden

    The first mention of “voice” as metaphor appeared in 1587 when Golding De Mornay wrote that “there is . . . a dubble Speech; the one in the mynd, . . . the other the sounding image thereof, . . . vttered by our mouth” (Oxford English Dictionary). Four centuries later, doubleness had become multiplicity. As Charlotte Otten and Gary Schmidt (1989) note, the “wordvoiceitself is undergoing changes: it has moved from being a strictly descriptive term into the realm of metaphor that now includes more than point of view and that encompasses all that identity itself connotes.”...

  53. 49 Young Adult
    (pp. 228-232)
    Lee A. Talley

    Talley phrase “young adult” reflects the history of changing perceptions of childhood, adolescence, and adulthood and how these ideas have shaped parenting, education, libraries, publishing, and marketing (Cart 1996 ; Eccleshare 1996 ; Campbell 2009). The Young Adult Services Association (YALSA) denotes ages to eighteen as composing “ young adult” readers YALSA 1994). Given the dominant conception that period of growth is particularly important, understandings of what constitutes “good” young adult literature vary extensively, for there is a great deal at stake.

    Readers often imagine young adult (YA) literature texts that challenge the status quo. They believe while children’s literature...

  54. Works Cited
    (pp. 233-264)
  55. About the Contributors
    (pp. 265-270)
  56. Index
    (pp. 271-282)