Looking Glasses and Neverlands

Lacan, Desire, and Subjectivity in Children's Literature

Powered by Google
Get permissions
202 pages, 6x9 inches

“Smart and engaging, Looking Glasses and Neverlands is the best extended psychoanalytic study of children’s literature yet available…. The beauty of Coats’ book is that it shows that Lacan’s work is especially suited for the study of children’s literature. Who knew?”—Kenneth Kidd, Children’s Literature Association Quarterly

“Engaging, clear, and authoritative—Looking Glasses and Neverlands offers an important contribution to our understanding of children’s literature and reading.”—Marshall Alcorn, author of Changing the Subject in English Class

A Choice Outstanding Academic Title

This groundbreaking study introduces and explores Lacan’s complex theories of subjectivity and desire through close readings of canonical children’s books such as Charlotte’s Web, Stellaluna, Holes, Tangerine, and The Chocolate War, providing an introduction to an increasingly influential body of difficult work while making the claim that children’s textual encounters are as significant as their existential ones in constituting their subjectivities and giving shape to their desires.

Table of contents: 

Introduction: The Subject of Children's Literature
1. How to Save Your Life: Lessons from a Runt Pig
2. A Time to Mourn: The Loss of the Mother
3. Mourning into Dancing: Recuperating the Loss of the Mother
4. Looking Glasses and Neverlands: Beyond the Symbolic
5. "I Never Explain Anything": Children's Literature and Sexuation
6. Blinded by the White: The Repsonsibilities of Race
7. Abjection and Adolescent Fiction: Ways Out
Conclusion: Postmoderns at the Gates of Dawn