CFP: [Children] Essays on the Fiction of Boy Detectives

full name / name of organization: 
Michael Cornelius
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Call for Papers - Essays on the Fiction of Boy Detectives

Much has written about the figure of the girl sleuth, embodied by such
popular figures as Nancy Drew, Judy Bolton, Trixie Belden, Cherry Ames,
and Vicki Barr; dozens of articles in peer-reviewed journals have been
published about them, and three collections of critical work (Dyer &
Romalov Rediscovering Nancy Drew, U of Iowa P 1995; Inness Nancy Drew and
Company, Popular Press 1997; Cornelius & Gregg, Nancy Drew and Her Sister
Sleuths: Essays on the Fiction of Girl Detectives, McFarland 2008) are
still in print. Their male counterparts, however, have received far less
critical attention, including only two book-length academic studies
focused on specific series (Connelly, The Hardy Boys Mysteries, 1927-1979:
A Cultural and Literary History, McFarland 2008 and Erisman, Boy’s Books,
Boy’s Dreams and the Mystique of Flight Texas Christian UP 2006). This
collection looks to correct that oversight and strives to create the first
edited collection of critical articles specifically on the popular figure
of the boy sleuth in twentieth and twenty-first century text and film.

The girl sleuth has often been described critically as a forever girl, a
feminist figure who at her heights nonetheless embodies the full zenith
and potentiality of girlhood. Boy sleuths, on the other hand, often
delicately balance boyhood and manhood; generally, as white, middle-class
(or higher) young males they stand on the cusp of full-fledged patriarchy,
looking in to the promised land that will someday be their domain. Yet
rather than elect to exercise their privilege for their own gains, they
choose to work for law and order, embodying a man’s role (usually better
than the fully fledged male adult law enforcement officials in the series)
while still navigating a boy’s world (the first brushes with sexuality,
economic freedom and responsibility, violence, the larger community around
them.) Though unhampered by traditional roles to the extent the girl
sleuth is, the boy sleuth must still balance boyhood and manhood, pleasing
parents and embracing (or rejecting) patriarchy, sleuthing/spying
activities and first dates, first crushes, and soda shop romances. This
collection looks to comprehensively examine the boy detective and his
genre from a wide variety of critical perspectives. Series explored may
include, but are not limited to, the Rover Boys, the Hardy Boys, Tow
Swift, Ted Scott, Bomba the Jungle Boy, the Three Investigators,
Christopher Cool, Rick Brant, Tom Corbett, Ken Holt, Don Sturdy,
Encyclopedia Brown, and the Power Boys.

Editor Michael G. Cornelius is co-editor of Nancy Drew and Her Sister
Sleuths: Essays on the Fiction of Girl Detectives (McFarland 2008) and the
author of numerous articles on children’s detective fiction. Consult Nancy
Drew and Her Sister Sleuths for further points on style and the type of
work sought.

Please send completed articles of around 5000 words to the editor at the
mail or e-mail address below on or before April 1, 2009. All articles
should adhere to MLA style and citations. Please use endnotes, not
footnotes (and use them sparingly.) Send questions via e-mail only. If you
are unsure whether or not your article would fit the collection, please
send an abstract of 500 words to the editor via e-mail as well.

Dr. Michael G. Cornelius
Chair, Department of English and Mass Communications
Wilson College
1015 Philadelphia Ave.
Chambersburg, PA 17201
or e-mail at

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Received on Mon Oct 06 2008 - 14:10:11 EDT