Read Demon or Doll: Images of the Child in Contemporary Writing and Culture by Ellen Pifer Online

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From the shootings at Columbine High School to the JonBenet Ramsey murder to the sentencing of "killer kids," today's media cannot decide if children are objects of fear or in need of protection. Our culture's deep-seated ambivalence toward its young is reflected in a fascinating array of recent fiction that exposes society's collective fantasies and fears.Demon or Doll inFrom the shootings at Columbine High School to the JonBenet Ramsey murder to the sentencing of "killer kids," today's media cannot decide if children are objects of fear or in need of protection. Our culture's deep-seated ambivalence toward its young is reflected in a fascinating array of recent fiction that exposes society's collective fantasies and fears.Demon or Doll investigates the ambiguous, contradictory ways childhood has been formulated in the twentieth century and the resulting ambivalence reflected in contemporary fiction. Grounding her exploration in a discussion of traditional constructions of childhood and the influence of the Romantics, Ellen Pifer shows how Dickens translated the Romantic idyll of original innocence into poignant images of "poor children," abused or abandoned by a harsh, increasingly mechanical society. At the turn of the twentieth century, Henry James created provocative images of childhood that anticipated the contemporary, post-Freudian child. Pifer engages a diverse and distinguished body of work by a global range of authors, addressing in each chapter a novel or cluster of novels in which the child's image serves as a nexus for investigating literary and cultural issues. The theories and observations of social historians, psychologists, and cultural critics--from Philippe Aries to Raymond Williams, Freud to Foucault--clarify the significance of the child's created image.Novels by William Golding, Doris Lessing, Milan Kundera, Toni Morrison, Salman Rushdie, and Jerzy Kosinski bring readers face to face with shattered, often grotesque images of the child. But several of postwar fiction's most experimental writers, including Vladimir Nabokov, Don DeLillo, and Ian McEwan, create texts that render surprising faith in original innocence. Whether the contemporary image of childhood appears intact or fractured, wholesome or horrifying, its many facets create a mirror in which we seek glimpses of our elusive, original selves....

Title : Demon or Doll: Images of the Child in Contemporary Writing and Culture
Author :
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ISBN : 9780813919645
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 272 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Demon or Doll: Images of the Child in Contemporary Writing and Culture Reviews

  • M. Alhammad
    2019-04-10 03:56

    I have to confess that I was only interested in Henry James and Toni Morrison's novels so I only read the chapters that are related to these two novelists. I am going to focus specifically on James' The Turn of The Screw since I read this novella recently. So, Pifer claims that the governess's reaction upon recognising the sexual interests in the children is normal within the Victorian society. It is normal in the way that children are seen as innocents and so on. Yet, his claim contradicts the events in the novella. I mean I know that this novella was controversial within the Victorian society because it depicts this corrupted image of children. Yet, if this claim was true, why would the governess's first reaction upon receiving the dismissal letter from Miles's school is that he had 'corrupted his little innocent mates'? This reaction was WAAAAY before the appearance of ghosts and her paranoiac assumption that the children were 'corrupted' by the ghosts. Also, the book promises us to discuss 'contemporary writing and culture'. Yet, the book discusses novels from the late 19th century. This is a bit strange because 19th century is defiantly not contemporary.