Panel: "Finding the Hidden Adult in Victorian Children's Literature"
The Victorian era embraced the notion that childhood should be set aside as a time of unbridled play and fantasy, separate from the adult world of work. Yet the worlds of childhood and adulthood were constantly blurring within and alongside books for both kinds of audiences: Catherine Robson notes the presence of men in Wonderland, and Claudia Nelson has recently shown that "precocious children" and "childish adults" populate Victorian literature.
In keeping with the "Evidence" theme of the NAVSA 2013 conference, this panel seeks presentations that search for evidence of the adult inhabiting the child's world or the child within the adult. Papers might consider child writers imitating adult-authored literature; adults writing for children or mimicking the child's voice; adult/child collaborations; case studies of texts that resist age-based audience conventions; and other instances of this boundary-crossing in the Victorian era, as well as the influence of personal history on literary production. Projects concerned with the exchange between different media forms-e.g., text and image; periodicals and bound volumes; "high" culture genres and "low"-are particularly welcome.