March 15 Deadline for abstracts: George Sand and Childhood at the MLA 2015
In the Notice to _Gabriel_, Sand draws a direct connection between fiction and childhood: "[Les enfants] vivent, par leurs jeux mêmes, dans un milieu fictif, où la rêverie peut les suivre sans être refroidie par la réalité. Eux aussi d'ailleurs appartiennent au monde de l'idéal, par la simplicité de leurs pensées." A means, perhaps, to dismiss any direct association between the subject of the play and the historical life of its author, she goes on to say that the artist must quit the oppressive world of positive reality by way of invention and fantasy, thereby joining that world of the ideal to which "they too belong." From this, and other references to childhood and artistic creation, can we articulate a poetics of childhood in Sand's work, and/or a place for Sand's work in the field of Childhood Studies? For this panel, we seek papers that theorize images, descriptions, and tales of childhood in Sand's work, including her autobiographical and fictional texts, prefaces, and newspaper articles. Possible topics: childhood and imagination; play and games; constructions of innocence; a defense of childhood with or as a defense of fantasy or poetic creation; growing up or coming of age stories; education and socialization; orphans, motherless children, foster children, and/or adopted children; childhood and agency.