The essays in this book, the fourth in the Studies in Children’s Literature Series, examine how various texts read by children since the eighteenth century reflect concepts of Irish national and/or imperial identity, and how they resist the empire and the nation’s normative concepts. They also explore how non-Irish readers receive Irish children’s books. The essays are organized into three broad and permeable categories. The first includes texts that promote the norms of empire and/or nation, and show how literature can be deployed as a tool of social management. The second contains essays that explore how certain texts for young people resist, subvert to varying degrees or ignore the pieties of nationalism and imperialism. The final category explores the ways in which modes of Irish childhood and children’s books are interpreted, or translated, for non-Irish readerships.
Subject matter ranges from works by Jonathan Swift and Maria Edgeworth and the revivalist texts of the Táin to the translation of contemporary fiction and the reception of Padraic Colum’s work in the United States. The book examines the resistant works of James Joyce and Oscar Wilde, Arthur Mee’s Children’s Encyclopedia and the periodicals of Na Fianna and Our Boys. It also addresses aspects of national identity in twentieth-century and contemporary fiction.
Contributors: Joy Alexander, Aedín Clements, Valerie Coghlan, Coralline Dupuy, Michael Flanagan, Marnie Hay, Anne Marie Herron, Anne Markey, Sharon Murphy, Ciara Ní Bhroin, Jane O’Hanlon, Emer O’Sullivan, Mary Shine Thompson. Mary Shine Thompson has co-edited three previous volumes in the Studies in Children’s Literature series. She was a founder member of the Irish Society for the Study of Children’s Literature and is a former chair of Poetry Ireland.