Children's Literature and the Avant-Garde

ORCID logoElina Druker | Stockholm University
ORCID logoBettina Kümmerling-Meibauer | University of Tübingen
ISBN 9789027201591 | EUR 99.00 | USD 149.00
ISBN 9789027268389 | EUR 99.00 | USD 149.00
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Children’s Literature and the Avant-Garde is the first study that investigates the intricate influence of the avant-garde movements on children’s literature in different countries from the beginning of the 20th century until the present. Examining a wide range of children’s books from Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Russia, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the USA, the individual chapters explore the historical as well as the cultural and political aspects that determine the exceptional character of avant-garde children’s books. Drawing on studies in children’s literature research, art history, and cultural studies, this volume provides comprehensive insights into the close relationships between avant-garde children’s literature, images of childhood, and contemporary ideas of education. Addressing topics such as the impact of exhibitions, the significance of the Bauhaus, and the influence of poster art and graphic design, the book illustrates the broad range of issues associated with avant-garde children’s books. More than 60 full-color illustrations demonstrate the impressive variety of design in avant-garde picturebooks and children’s books.

Winner of the Edited Book Award 2017 of The Children's Literature Association.

Winner of the Edited Book Award 2017 of the International Research Society for Children's Literature.

Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
This tremendous collection spotlights the generative relationship between avant-garde practices and children’s books. Elina Druker and Bettina Kümmerling-Meibauer gather a cohort of scholars to explore the historical avant-garde–its emergence and its aftermath, its playfulness and propaganda, its ambiguities and provocations, its sophistication and calculated naïveté–through international artists’ deliberate focus on childhood perception and imagination. The essayists turn a new page in the study of children’s literature, measuring the geographical and ideological range of the avant-garde across the discipline, and locating the vestiges of avant-garde aesthetics and politics in now-familiar, not-quite-innocent texts and imagery.
Children’s Literature and the Avant-Garde luminously shows how avant-garde artists rely on self-proclaimed manifestoes and herald the reorganisation of the literary and artistic fields of children’s literature. Proposing a “great literature for the small,” for a “new child” in a new society, their vision is inspired by the Russian revolutionary movement in Denmark in the Twenties and supported in England by the strong feelings about childhood initiated by John Ruskin. Avant-garde artists experiment different techniques and trends, such as Expressionism and Cubism in Hungary, Abstract Expressionism and Color Field painting characteristic of Pop Art after the Second World War in the United States, Surrealism and other artistic movements, as well as psychoanalysis, in France. Such a forward approach thus succeeds in conveying innovative matters of perception, a rebellion against a rigid set of conventions, which constitutes a major challenge to creation in the international field, as this set of brilliant essays suggests.”
Children's Literature and the Avant-Garde undertakes an ambitious task of highlighting mutual links between a number of radical art movements and children's literature. All the contributions undoubtedly display sensitivity to the heterogeneity of these trends and their different historical situatedness; each offers a glimpse into the socio-cultural embedding of art and literature. The other crucial aspect of the project is accentuated in Philip Nel's chapter, where the author points out the importance of examining the underlying senses of the books, especially those examples of avant-garde literature which do make the world's absurdities clear to the child reader (68). This meaningful conclusion to the volume echoes the hope expressed in the introduction that the contributions will expand thinking about the way in which aesthetic strategies used by the artists may affect the meaning of the books in question. As this aspect reverberates in all of the chapters, and in some it becomes a priority, the volume as a whole certainly achieves the goal.”
Cited by

Cited by 8 other publications

Buhl, Virginie
2019. Le chien, le traducteur et l’apprenti-lecteur : contraintes et libertés dans la traduction du Livre de lecture de Gertrude Stein. Palimpsestes :32  pp. 41 ff. DOI logo
Castellano Sanz, Margarida
2022. Challenging Picturebooks and Domestic Geographies. In Managing Pandemic Isolation With Literature as Therapy [Advances in Psychology, Mental Health, and Behavioral Studies, ],  pp. 213 ff. DOI logo
Dorkin, Andrew
2021. Humouring Futurity: Avant-Garde Poetry for Children?. CounterText 7:3  pp. 350 ff. DOI logo
Krapfl, James, Sara Pankenier Weld, Anastasia Kostetskaya, Olga Voronina & Megan Swift
2022. A roundtable on Megan Swift’sPicturing the Page: Illustrated Children’s Literature and Reading under Lenin and Stalin. Canadian Slavonic Papers 64:4  pp. 490 ff. DOI logo
Kümmerling-Meibauer, Bettina
2022. Geschichte des Bilderbuchs und seiner Gattungen. In Das Bilderbuch,  pp. 29 ff. DOI logo
Müller-Wille, Klaus
2019. Das Lesen neu erfinden. In Schnittstellen der Kinder- und Jugendmedienforschung [Studien zu Kinder- und Jugendliteratur und -medien, 1],  pp. 11 ff. DOI logo

This list is based on CrossRef data as of 19 march 2024. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.


Literature & Literary Studies

Theoretical literature & literary studies

Main BIC Subject

DSB: Literary studies: general

Main BISAC Subject

LIT009000: LITERARY CRITICISM / Children's & Young Adult Literature
ONIX Metadata
ONIX 2.1
ONIX 3.0
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2015015504 | Marc record