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As striking, counter-intuitive and distasteful as the combination of children and anxiety may seem, some of the most popular children's classics abound in depictions of traumatic relationships, bloody wars and helpless heroes. This book draws on Freudian and Lacanian anxiety models to investigate the psychological and political significance of this curious juxtaposition, as it stands out in Golden Age novels from both sides of the Atlantic and their present-day adaptations. The stories discussed in detail, so the argument goes, identify specific anxieties and forms of anxiety management as integral elements of hegemonial middle-class identity. Apart from its audacious link between psychoanalysis and Marxist, feminist, as well as postcolonial ideology criticism, this study provides a nuanced analysis of the ways in which allegedly trivial texts negotiate questions of individual and (trans)national identities. In doing so, it offers a fresh look at beloved tales like Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz and Peter Pan, contributes to the dynamic field of adaptation studies and highlights the necessity to approach children's entertainment more seriously and more sensitively than it is generally the case.
Jasmin Sültemeyer, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, Germany.
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