Talking Animals in Children's Fiction: A Critical Study

McFarland, 18 . 2015 . - : 268
Talking-animal tales have conveyed anticruelty messages since the 18th-century beginnings of childrens literature. Yet only in the modern period have animal characters become true subjects rather than objects of human neglect or benevolence. Modern fantasies reflect the shift from animal welfare to animal rights in 20th-century public discourse. This revolution in literary animal-human relations began with Lewis Carrolls Alices Adventures in Wonderland and continued with the work of Kenneth Grahame, Hugh Lofting, P.L. Travers and E. B. White. Beginning with the ideas of literary theorist Mikhail Mikhailovich Bakhtin, this book examines ways in which animal characters gain an aura of authority through using language and then participate in reversals of power. The author provides a close reading of 10 acclaimed British and American childrens fantasies or series published before 1975. Authors whose work has received little scholarly attention are also covered, including Robert Lawson, George Selden and Robert C. OBrien.
 

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Preface
1
Introduction
5
Lewis Carrolls Alices Adventures in Wonderland 1865
23
Kenneth Grahames The Wind in the Willows 1908
44
Hugh Loftings Doctor Dolittle Series 19201952
67
P L Traverss Mary Poppins Series 19341988
91
Robert Lawsons Ben and Me 1939
120
Robert Lawsons Rabbit Hill 1944
138
E B Whites Stuart Little 1945
154
E B Whites Charlottes Web 1952
170
George Seldens The Cricket in Times Square 1960
189
Robert C OBriens Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH 1971
209
Chapter Notes
231
Works Cited
244
Index
253

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 (2015)

Catherine L. Elick is a professor of English and the William W. Thomas Chair of Humane Letters at Bridgewater College in Virginia. She teaches childrens literature as well as courses in modern, British, Irish, and Russian literature.