[Deadline Extended] MLA 2017 Special Session: Nonhumans in Twentieth-Century British Children's Fiction
Animals, fairies, and toys, and their relation to concepts of childhood or the child, fill the pages of British children's fiction in the twentieth century. While childhood was often portrayed in the Victorian period as that of "vulnerability and victimization . . . a comparatively brief, difficult step on the path to adulthood" (Gavin and Humphries), literary representations of childhood from the Edwardian period onward emphasize less on the child's proper relation to the adult world, but more on his or her ability/willingness to cultivate affective ties with a host of nonhuman others, as represented in such works as E. Nesbit's "Five Children and It," J. M. Barrie's "Peter Pan," Kenneth Grahame's "The Wind in the Willows," Margery Williams's "The Velveteen Rabbit" and "The Little Wooden Doll," C.S. Lewis's "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe," and many others.
The proposed panel is particularly interested in this turn to animals, fairies, and toys, and to the natural and supernatural spaces they inhabit in twentieth-century British children's fiction.
If interested, please send an abstract (200 words) and a short bio to Shun Y. Kiang at firstname.lastname@example.org by March 15.