In this Book

Little Red Readings
summary

A significant body of scholarship examines the production of children's literature by women and minorities, as well as the representation of gender, race, and sexuality. But few scholars have previously analyzed class in children's literature. This definitive collection remedies that by defining and exemplifying historical materialist approaches to children's literature. The introduction of Little Red Readings lucidly discusses characteristics of historical materialism, the methodological approach to the study of literature and culture first outlined by Karl Marx, defining key concepts and analyzing factors that have marginalized this tradition, particularly in the United States.

The thirteen essays here analyze a wide range of texts--from children's bibles to Mary Poppins to The Hunger Games--using concepts in historical materialism from class struggle to the commodity. Essayists apply the work of Marxist theorists such as Ernst Bloch and Fredric Jameson to children's literature and film. Others examine the work of leftist writers in India, Germany, England, and the United States.

The authors argue that historical materialist methodology is critical to the study of children's literature, as children often suffer most from inequality. Some of the critics in this collection reveal the ways that literature for children often functions to naturalize capitalist economic and social relations. Other critics champion literature that reveals to readers the construction of social reality and point to texts that enable an understanding of the role ordinary people might play in creating a more just future. The collection adds substantially to our understanding of the political and class character of children's literature worldwide, and contributes to the development of a radical history of children's literature.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title page, Copyright, Dedication
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Introduction: The Case for a Historical Materialist Criticism of Children’s Literature
  2. Angela E. Hubler
  3. pp. ix-2
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  1. Class/ic Aggression in Children's Literature
  2. Mervyn Nicholson
  3. pp. 3-30
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  1. Shopping Like it's 1899: Gilded Age Nostalgia and Commodity Fetishism in Alloy’s Gossip Girl
  2. Anastasia Ulanowicz
  3. pp. 31-56
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  1. Precious Medals: The Newbery Medal, the YRCA, and the Gold Standard of Children's Book Awards
  2. Carl F. Miller
  3. pp. 57-74
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  1. "We Are All One": Money, Magic, and Mysticism in Mary Poppins
  2. Sharon Smulders
  3. pp. 75-93
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  1. Solidarity of Times Past: Historicizing the Labor Movement in American Children’s Novels
  2. Cynthia Anne McLeod
  3. pp. 94-115
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  1. “The Disorders of Its Own Identity": Poverty as Aesthetic Symbol in Eve Bunting’s Picture Books
  2. Daniel D. Hade and Heidi M. Brush
  3. pp. 116-132
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  1. The Young Socialist: A Magazine of Justice and Love (1901–1926)
  2. Jane Rosen
  3. pp. 133-150
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  1. Girls' Literature by German Writers in Exile (1933–1945)
  2. Jana Mikota
  3. pp. 151-168
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  1. Different Tales and Different Lives: Children’s Literature as Political Activism in Andhra Pradesh
  2. Naomi Wood
  3. pp. 169-190
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  1. A Multicultural History of Children's Films
  2. Ian Wojcik-Andrews
  3. pp. 191-212
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  1. Bloodthirsty Little Brats; or, The Child's Desire for Biblical Violence
  2. Roland Boer
  3. pp. 213-227
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  1. Utopia and Anti-Utopia in Lois Lowry's and Suzanne Collins's Dystopian Fiction
  2. Angela E. Hubler
  3. pp. 228-244
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  1. Ursula Le Guin's Powers as Radical Fantasy
  2. Justyna Deszcz-Tryhu bczak
  3. pp. 245-264
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  1. Notes on Contributors
  2. pp. 265-268
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 269-276
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