Humorous and subversive maps in children's literature

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Humorous and subversive maps in children's literature

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Publication Conference other
Title Humorous and subversive maps in children's literature
Author Sundmark, Björn
Date 2016
English abstract
Humorous and subversive maps in children’s books Maps – whether in books for children or adults – fulfill the same basic functions (Sundmark 2014b, Sundmark 2015): they produce a fictional space for the reader, and/or they reference the main events of the storyline and index the places in which these occur, and/or (finally) they are part of the fictional universe itself, as with R. L. Stevenson’s map of Treasure Island. But even if there is no fundamental way in which fictional maps in books for adults differ from those found in children’s books, I would argue that there is one category (at least) of maps in children’s books that are less common in adult literature – the humorous and parodic. Such playful and subversive maps are in fact found much more frequently in children’s fiction than in other kinds of literature. Characteristically, these are maps where the referential function is downplayed, and where the fictional space is less that of a “realistically” portrayed fantasy world (Ekman), than a mirror-image of the play-world of the child. One could also see such maps as toys in themselves, prompting and inviting the child to play and have fun. Typically, some of these maps replicate a child’s world; it is the nursery or the back yard garden with its toys, as in Milne’s and Shephard’s “Hundred Acre Wood,” or in Barbro Lindgren and Eva Eriksson’s “Barnhans’s land”. Others represent a miniature toy- or animal-land (Geronimo Stilton). Moreover, the map conventions themselves can be exaggerated and subverted to create a spirit of boisterousness and humorous recklessness as in Cressida Cowell’s books about the Viking boy Hiccup. Finally, there are also humorous maps that are integral to the absurd and nonsensical fictional worlds they portray: Walter Moers’s map of Zamonia (Captain Bluebear’s 13½ Lives) is one example. Thus, the chapter is an attempt to chart the humorous and subversive uses of maps in children’s books, and argues that this is a defining trait of maps in books for children (rather than for adults).
Conference
Children's Literature and Play (19-21 May : Wroclaw, Poland)
Language eng (iso)
Subject Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::HUMANITIES and RELIGION
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/21966 Permalink to this page
Link http://www.wroclaw2016.pl/childrens-literature-and... (external link to related web page)
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