This issue of Papers presents four essays canvassing a diverse range of theoretical and textual interests. Beverley Pennell’s ‘Ozzie Kids Flee the Garden of Delight: Reconfigurations of Childhood in Australian Children’s Fictions’ tracks shifts in how childhood is conceptualised in contemporary Australian fiction for children, using as focus texts Joanne Horniman’s Sand Monkeys and Odo Hirsch’s trilogy of ‘Hazel Green’ books. This essay argues that cultural discourses around children and childhood have shifted from an emphasis on adulthood and childhood as distinct and separate domains of experience, and from the idealisation of childhood as it manifested in Romantic textuality, to a blurring of boundaries between children and adults. In Australian texts, Pennell sees this shift as incorporating an increasing democratisation of power relations between adults and children, and an appreciation of the diversity of child populations. This essay invites comparative studies which explore the extent to which representations of childhood in Australian texts are similar to those evident in other national literatures for children.
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