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  • Irish Children's Literature and Culture. New Perspectives on Contemporary Writing
  • Claudia Söffner
Valerie Coghlan and Keith O’sullivan (Eds), Irish Children’s Literature and Culture. New Perspectives on Contemporary Writing. (Series: Children’s literature and culture) New York and London: Routledge 2011 X pp + 213 pp ISBN 9780415877893 GB £ 80.00

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Compared to the children’s literature output in other European countries, the body of contemporary books for young readers published in and about Ireland is still fairly small. “Irish Children’s Literature and Culture” is a fresh and inspiring collection of essays looking at the development of Irish children’s literature in English written within the past three decades. The editors clearly state that the volume does not claim to cover Irish literature for young people in its entirety, but that their aim was “to provide an insight into the variety and complexity of contemporary writing.” In order to do so, the various contributors examine children’s books from Irish and non-Irish authors both in Ireland and abroad. Not only do they analyze a broad selection of books, authors, and illustrators, but they also examine Irish works for children in relation to Irish literature for adults and to international children’s literature, as well as to literary and cultural theory.

The topics, forms, and genres discussed in the book’s thirteen chapters include mythology, religious and cultural identity, globalization, historical fiction, picture books, the gothic, speculative fiction, and children’s poetry. Although each essay focuses on a different topic and can be enjoyed separately, a certain amount of overlap in the texts under scrutiny allows readers to experience contrasting perspectives and invites the audience to compare them and participate in the discussion. This study offers indispensable insight into topical questions and developments for both academics and the general children’s literature aficionado. [End Page 83]



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