Abstract for Week Twelve
From Lilliput to Narnia: Children’s Literature
The lecture will look at some key texts of what is now called children’s literature by Irish authors, from Swift through Wilde to CS Lewis. It will examine the roots of their texts in folklore and folktale. It will address the paradox that children’s literature seems at once futuristic and conservative: “back to the future” or a case of the “archaic avant-garde”. It will explore the troubled relationship between childhood and modernism—and hint at some ways in which the classics of children’s literature provided the main templates for “magic realism” as practised in the postcolonial world.
Professor Declan Kiberd, University of Notre Dame