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Appears in Collections:Literature and Languages Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Unrefereed
Title: Children's literature and theology in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries
Author(s): Blair, Kirstie
Issue Date: Jun-2016
Date Deposited: 14-Apr-2022
Citation: Blair K (2016) Children's literature and theology in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Literature and Theology, 30 (2), pp. 125-130.
Abstract: First paragraph: In 2002, Peter Hunt, one of the world’s leading scholars of children’s literature, argued in a conference talk: [R]eligion of all kinds has been virtually silenced in mainstream children’s literature, and this has left both a philosophical and a sociological void, perhaps uneasily filled by myth and fantasy. Secondly, religion has actually taken on strong negative connotations. Yet while strongly asserting that children’s literature had been overtaken by secularism, Hunt also noted that the contemporary debates over Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series (1995-2000), in tandem with controversies over the banning of J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books (1997-2007) on religious grounds in parts of the U. S., suggested that ‘religion and children’s books have once more become intertwined, in a highly paradoxical way.’ii In the decade since Hunt’s talk appeared in print, this has arguably become ever clearer to scholars of children’s literature. Although we can agree with the editors of two previous special journal issues on children’s literature and religion that mainstream children’s literature ‘has long since evolved away from its religious roots’ in the Christian didacticism of the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and that ‘overt and even covert advocacy of religion (particularly Christianity) in secular children’s literature has become increasingly suspect and subject to censorship’, there also seems to be a general consensus that the late twentieth and twenty-first century has witnessed a notable revival of interest in religious and theological themes in children’s literature.
DOI Link: 10.1093/litthe/frw019
Rights: This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Literature and Theology following peer review. The version of record Blair K (2016) Children's literature and theology in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Literature and Theology, 30 (2), pp. 125-130 is available online at:
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