Radiant, Humble, Monstrous: Modern Children's Literature

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ENGL 5690 940
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Course Description
This is not your great-great-gran's Bildungsroman. There will be no orphans here. No. Wait. There will absolutely be orphans here, including one from Kansas who bests a wizard, and another from a cupboard under the stairs who is a wizard. In this course, we will study the evolution and convolution of Children's Literature from the 19th to 21st centuries. We will read, analyze, even psychoanalyze the beloved, the famous, and the just plain odd, in order to best understand why these books are not just developmental fabric of our youth, but of critical cultural, literary, and scholarly importance. We will read across decades and genres, from picture books to YA and graphic novels, to essays on polemic and passions and the uncanny, including such voices as Lewis Carroll, Margaret Wise Brown, Jason Reynolds, E.B. White, and Neil Gaiman. Assignments include one short essay, weekly quick responses, a presentation on your literary passion, and a final project of either critical analysis of your course study or a creative representation of where that study has taken you. Regular participation in class discussions is crucial. If all good little scholars are eager and industrious, there will be literary cookies. If not, there might be wolves…
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