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Literature for Minors

Literature for Minors

Chapter:
(p.92) 3 Literature for Minors
Source:
Theory for Beginners
Author(s):
Kenneth B. Kidd
Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823289592.003.0004

Chapter 3 entertains the idea that children’s literature might also be called a literature for minors, and even a minor literature as conceptualized by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. Children are legally minors, but adults can be minors too, culturally if not also legally. Such an understanding of children’s literature broadens our sense of its purpose. The chapter begins with Walter Benjamin’s attention to childhood and children’s forms as a baseline for critical thinking about “minors.” It then traces the reception history of Lewis Carroll’s Alice, the Anglophone children’s classic that most closely approaches recognition as theory. Finally, the chapter explores the idea that some children’s literature functions as queer theory for kids, discussing a wide range of texts including A Series of Unfortunate Events. The chapter concludes with a reading of Alison Bechdel’s memoir Are You My Mother?, seemingly for adults but preoccupied with queer childhood.

Keywords:   Alice, Alison Bechdel, Walter Benjamin, Lewis Carroll, Deleuze and Guattari, minor literature, minors, queer theory, A Series of Unfortunate Events

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