Call for Papers: The First World War in European Children’s Literature (1970-2014)

24 January 2014

Papers are invited for a one-day international symposium on 27 June 2014 at the Trinity Long Room Hub, Dublin, on the subject of the First World War in late-twentieth and twenty-first century literature for children and young adults.

Building on recent research into literary constructions of childhood in the years leading up to and during the Great War, this event will focus on the processes at play in more recent literary production, investigating and comparing representations of the War in materials produced across Europe since the beginning of the so-called ‘post-memory’ period in the 1970s right up until the present day.

The symposium will be held in English but we welcome international and comparative perspectives; a particular emphasis will be placed on the translation and transnational reception of children’s war literature. 

We invite proposals for twenty-minute papers that engage with any aspect of the representation of the First World War in children’s literature in this period.

Proposals might engage with, for example, the works of John Boyne, John Quinn, Aubrey Flegg, Carol Ann Duffy, Michael Morpurgo, Anne-Marie Pol, Paule du Bouchet, Catherine Cuenca, Arthur Ténor, Geert Spillebeen, Klaus Kordon, or Willi Fährmann.

Potential topics might include, but are not limited to: 

  • the challenge of representing horror and violence in children’s war literature
  • family and inter-generational memory
  • challenges specific to representing the First World War to children
  • twin tales: integrating First World War stories into other national and international historical narratives (the Irish revolutionary period; the Second World War; the Holocaust)
  • TV and film adaptations
  • translation and transnational reception
  • the use of First World War literature in the classroom
  • graphic novels and picture books
  • crossover texts: teenage experiences of war as ‘adult’ fiction and ‘adult’ war fiction through teenage eyes

Though the focus of the symposium will be on post-1970 literature, contributions on earlier material may be considered if presented in the context of modern reading culture (reception, belated canonisation, translation and re-translation etc).

Abstracts (max. 300 words) should be submitted by e-mail to both Nóra de Buiteléir [email protected] and Nora Maguire [email protected] by Friday 31 January 2014.

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