Girls Transforming

Invisibility and Age-Shifting in Children’s Fantasy Fiction Since the 1970s

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About the Book

This book explores representations of girlhood and young womanhood in recent English language children’s fantasy by focusing on two fantastic body transformation types: invisibility and age-shifting. Drawing on recent feminist and queer theory, the study discusses the tropes of invisibility and age-shifting as narrative devices representing gendered experiences. The transformations offer various perspectives on a girl’s changing body and identity and provide links between real-life and fantastic discourses of gender, power, invisibility and aging.
The main focus is on English-language fantasy published since the 1970s but the motifs of invisibility and age-shifting in earlier tales and children’s books is reviewed; this is the first study of children’s fantasy literature that considers these tropes at length.
Novels discussed are from both critically acclaimed authors and the less well known. Most of the novels depicting invisible or age-shifting girls are neither thoroughly conventional nor radically subversive but present a range of styles. In terms of gender, children’s fantasy novels can be more complex than they are often interpreted to be.

About the Author(s)

Sanna Lehtonen is a university lecturer in Applied Linguistics in the Department of Languages, University of Jyväskylä, Finland, where she teaches in the area of discourse studies with a particular focus on gender and new media.

Bibliographic Details

Sanna Lehtonen. Series Editors Donald E. Palumbo and C.W. Sullivan III
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 232
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2013
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6136-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0193-9
Imprint: McFarland
Series: Critical Explorations in Science Fiction and Fantasy

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Preface 1

Introduction 7

1. Magic Cloaks and Potions: Motifs and Tropes of Invisibility and Age­Shifting 27

2. Witch Power: Invisibility, ­Age-­Shifting and Empowerment 56

3. Deconstructing and Reconstructing Female Subjectivity: Magic Transformation and Girls’ Coming of Age 99

4. Discourses of Gender, Power and Desire: Invisibility and Female Gaze 136

5. Crossing Borders: Queer Aging 164

Conclusion 191

Chapter Notes 197

Bibliography 208

Index 219