Places of Childhood Fancy

Essays on Space and Speculation in Children’s Book Series

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About the Book

Many of us grew up exploring fascinating worlds—in books, films and, most importantly, our imaginations—places filled with mythological characters and magical landscapes where we had stunning experiences punctuated by the harmless pleasures that any child’s mind can conjure. These worlds end up in our childhood fictions, which have in turn shaped countless imaginations and childhood adventures. The essays in this book attempt to comprehend the worlds of children’s progressive fiction—from how they are created to how they affect readers. This book explores what happens when speculative genres (fantasy, horror, and science fiction) and imaginative spaces collide headlong with the realities and surrealities of modern childhood. It moves back and forth between Oz, Wonderland, Redwall and Fear Street, and explores series such as Nancy Drew, Inkheart, The Mortal Instruments, the Miss Peregrine series and more. Many of these works feature children who must save the day—to stop the bad guy, kill the monster, complete the quest and rescue adults—leading us to wonder if fantastic spaces in children’s progressive fiction help kids prepare to save the world rather than helping them temporarily escape it.

About the Author(s)

Michael G. Cornelius is a professor of English and director of the Master’s of Humanities program at Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. He is an award-winning novelist and the author or editor of numerous scholarly works.

Marybeth Ragsdale-Richards teaches in the English and Women’s Studies programs at Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Michael G. Cornelius and Marybeth Ragsdale-Richards

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2022
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8658-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4671-8
Imprint: McFarland