150 Years of Children’s Fantasy
The Harry Potter Books are the latest example of an important, much –loved genre, children’s fantasy! In this course, we’ll trace the development of children’s fantasy from the 1850s to the present day, studying the genre’s innovations, experiments, and influence. Most importantly, we’ll consider children’s literature, and take it seriously on its own terms, paying special attention to the attraction fantasies of magical powers might hold for people who are so often without any power of their own. What does it mean to be a child? What is it that children wish for? How do we define the genre of fantasy? This class will adopt a transatlantic perspective, including literature from both the US and the UK, and we’ll read criticism as well as children’s literature. Writers may include: Mrs. Molesworth, Lewis Carroll, L. Frank Baum, E. Nesbit, J.M. Barrie, P.L. Travers, C.S. Lewis, Edward Eager, Diana Wynne Jones, Joan Aiken, J.K. Rowling, Lemony Snicket, and Frances Hardinge. Films may include The Wizard of Oz, Snow White, and Mary Poppins.