This article uses the DVD material for the Miramax film Finding Neverland to explore the marketing of children’s films. Miramax is a subsidiary of Disney, and Finding Neverland’s DVD marketing aligns it with Disney’s brand image. The main DVD featurette reinterprets Finding Neverland and its stars according to an unspoken template: child-centered fantastic spectacle that supports wish-fulfillment and firmly excludes death or unhappiness. The template fits clumsily, yet such blatant reinterpretation inadvertently reveals key features of Disney/Miramax’s marketing strategies for family films. More broadly, this case study suggests scholars should take corporate brand identities and synergistic business models into account when examining the conception and marketing of children’s films.
Targeted for young girls, Dorothy Canfield Fisher’s 1917 novel, Understood Betsy, examines the overlap between Montessori schooling and economics, becoming a treatise on how specific educational approaches may be used to thwart new attitudes concerning consumption and childhood. Recognizing that American children early in the twentieth century were particularly vulnerable in a cultural moment of crass materialism, Canfield Fisher imagined a way to employ Montessori-based schooling to redirect the orientation of children before they became co-opted by the consumer culture. In the novel, Canfield Fisher links fiscal responsibility to physical and mental health, calling for a pattern of spending that benefits both the individual and the community.
This essay unpacks the formerly overlooked links between the lesbian pulp fiction that Marijane Meaker wrote under various pseudonyms during the postwar period and the young adult novels that she has published in recent decades under the name M. E. Kerr. In particular, it reads her 1994 YA text Deliver Us From Evie as a type of retro retelling of her best-selling 1952 lesbian paperback, Spring Fire. Some elements of postwar pulp fiction may seem campy, ironic and even ridiculous to late-twentieth century readers. But, as Evie demonstrates, many of the messages that they communicate about same-sex love unfortunately endure. This essay demonstrates that Meaker is revisiting and revising her earlier pulp work in her 1994 YA novel, and she is doing so within the context of a 1990s-to-1950s retrospection that is campy and ironic, but also earnest.
J. M. Barrie’s Peter and Wendy is portrayed by contemporary criticism as a politically subversive narrative resistant to the determinations of Empire. This essay will suggest that such an interpretation ignores the explicitly aesthetic character of Barrie’s story: Neverland is a textual space in which reality is fictively recomposed to the benefit of its inhabitants, a ludic site whereon identity is contingent and provisional. The island is a map of aesthetic potentialities and, as such, affords readers themselves patterns for producing a world beyond the strictures of determinate typification.