In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Introduction
  • David Russell, Karin Westman, and Naomi Wood

The essays for this issue of The Lion and Unicorn offer new contexts for several popular texts published across the twentieth century.

In "Re-coupling Text and Image: Graham Greene's The Little Train," Kimberley Reynolds argues for the reassessment of a mid-twentieth-century picture book, Grahame Greene's The Little Train, the story of a train (presumable a young one) who sets out on an adventure through a desire to see the world. When the book first appeared in 1946, Greene's authorship was not even acknowledged in the book. Instead, it appeared under the name of its illustrator (and Greene's former lover) Dorothy Craigie, a pen name of Dorothy Glover. Craigie's modernist illustrations were beginning to be seen as outdated in postwar England, and in time the book was reissued (with the appropriate authorial attribution) in 1973, freshly illustrated by the noted British illustrator Edward Ardizzone. That version achieved wide popularity and is the one best known today. Revisiting the Craigie illustrations, Reynolds draws some striking contrasts between the two editions. Less sentimental (or less nostalgic) than Ardizzone's, Craigie's bolder illustrations emphasize the impact of the journey on the anthropomorphized Little Train. Whereas Ardizzone depicts a childlike, wayward adventure, Craigie portrays a spiritual quest reflecting the more serious themes and preoccupations in Greene's text—such as the impact of industrialization on modern society. Reynolds suggests that The Little Train, in the 1946 Greene and Craigie version, is a significant statement of prevailing social attitudes of the earlier twentieth century and that now, as it approaches its seventieth anniversary, it deserves renewed recognition and republication.

Psychoanalysis proves a useful lens for our next two authors. Dianne McGlasson's "A Toothy Tale: Themes of Abjection in John Marsden and Shaun Tan's Picture Story, The Rabbits" examines the psychic underbelly of Australian colonial history as allegorically depicted by John Marsden and Shaun Tan. Noting the pervasive imagery of teeth and consumption in Tan's illustrations, McGlasson illuminates the abjection not only of the [End Page v] indigenes but also of the colonizers. In another psychoanalytic approach, Christine Wilkie-Stibbs' essay "Imaging Fear: Inside the Worlds of Neil Gaiman (An Anti-Oedipal Reading)" first studies Gaiman's use of dream and nightmare imagery to challenge "the imperialism of Oedipus" with his dynamic female characters. Moving from Freud through Lacan and to Deleuze and Guattari, Wilkie-Stibbs demonstrates that liberating the Symbolic—or the Imaginary—from the patriarchal power of Oedipus is not as simple as exchanging passivity for action.

It goes without saying that Suzanne Collins's Hunger Games trilogy has become a phenomenon, verging on craze, among YA readers in recent years, a position confirmed by its recent appearance on the big screen. Susan Tan offers a reading of the trilogy in "Burn with Us: Sacrificing Childhood in The Hunger Games," which she sees as a pointed critique of modern American culture. She is particularly interested how the horrifying elements of Panem, built centuries in the future on the ruins of modern America, uncomfortably reflect today's society. For Tan, the image of the sacrificial child, perhaps the salient image of the trilogy, becomes the image of modern America, in which the young, in the quest for self-identity, become enmeshed in the tensions wrought by technology, violence, and social pressures, and too often themselves become the sacrifices.

Finally, in "From Homoplot to Progressive Novel," Caroline Jones provides an overview of depictions of young adult sexuality in novels about lesbian teens and argues for sex-positive advocacy despite the inhospitable social climate many teens experience. By challenging the primacy of the "homoplot" documented by many students of GLBTQ young adult novels, twenty-first century writers carve out a space for self-expression and even happiness not previously allowed in YA fiction in texts that explore new aspects of identity politics and extend generic limits.

As always, we welcome your comments and suggestions for the journal. Please contact us at <lionunicorn@ksu.edu>. [End Page vi]

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6563
Print ISSN
0147-2593
Pages
pp. v-vi
Launched on MUSE
2013-04-21
Open Access
No
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