Long gone is the time when studying childhood was seen as a marginal subject for serious scholarly research; on the contrary, there is a growing interest in the phenomenon of childhood in cultural and literary studies. Covering a wide range of themes as well as possible approaches to the ways childhood and coming of age are represented in British and American literature, Literary Childhoods is a contribution to this current debate. While the focus of the essays moves between two centuries and two countries, they are intrinsically linked by a shared point of view as they explore how different authors and literary texts depict childhood and the process of growing up, what images, stereotypes, cultural assumptions as well as literary means are used for the purpose, and how the figure of a child can be used as a literary device.

Šárka Bubíková received her PhD in English and American Literature at Palacký University in Olomouc, Czech Republic. She is currently the Head of the Department of English and American Studies at the University of Pardubice, Czech Republic. Her research interests include representations of childhood and coming of age in English and American fiction, American literary canon and contemporary American ethnic literature. Author of a book on American literary canon (Amerika v literatuře, literatura v Americe, Pardubice, 2007) and a collection of essays Literary Childhoods: Growing Up in British and American Literature (Pardubice, 2008), she has published numerous articles, as well as a novel on Czech-American culture clash (Smaragdové město, Pavel Mervart, 2006). She is now working on a project on Bildungsroman. She organizes annual cultural studies conferences in Pardubice and co-edits its proceedings. She is the founding editor of newly launched American and British Studies Annual. She is a member of the Czech and Slovak Association for American Studies.

Published by Pavel Mervart in cooperation with the University of Pardubice, 2008. 176 pages.
ISBN: 978-80-86818-67-2 (Pavel Mervart)
ISBN: 978-80-7395-091-0 (Univerzita Pardubice)

1. Concepts and Experiences of Childhood. Šárka Bubíková
2. “My Heart Is Heavy with the Things That I Do Not Understand“: Initiation and Identity in Kipling’s Mowgli Stories. Patricia Ráčková
3. Growing Up in Jane Gardam’s Novels. Milada Franková
4. Freedom, Spontaneity, Imagination and the Loss of Innocence – the Theme of Childhood in Ian McEwan’s Fiction. Petr Chalupský
5. The Magic of the Real / The Real of the Magic in Harry Potter. Libora Oates-Indruchová
6. Becoming Little Women. Hana Štráchalová, Šárka Bubíková
7. Growing up and the Quest for Identity. Šárka Bubíková
8. Killing of the (Inner) Child, Auto-American-Biography and American Sublime in Joseph Heller’s Something Happened. Zofia Kolbuszewska
9. Growing up Postmodern. Šárka Bubíková
10. Motifs of Childhood in the “9/11” Genre. Ewa Kowal
Czech Summary / Resumé
Notes on Contributors