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Power of darkness : narrative and biographical reflexivity in 'A series of unfortunate events'

journal contribution
posted on 2008-12-01, 00:00 authored by Elizabeth Bullen
This paper investigates the high-earning children's series, A Series of Unfortunate Events, in relation to the skills young people require to survive and thrive in what Ulrich Beck calls risk society. Children's textual culture has been traditionally informed by assumptions about childhood happiness and the need to reassure young readers that the world is safe. The genre is consequently vexed by adult anxiety about children's exposure to certain kinds of knowledge. This paper discusses the implications of the representation of adversity in the Lemony Snicket series via its subversions of the conventions of children's fiction and metafictional strategies. Its central claim is that the self-consciousness or self-reflexivity of A Series of Unfortunate Events} models one of the forms of reflexivity children need to be resilient in the face of adversity and to empower them to undertake the biographical project risk society requires of them.

History

Journal

International research in children's literature

Volume

1

Issue

2

Pagination

200 - 212

Publisher

Edinburgh University Press

Location

Edinburgh, Scotland

ISSN

1755-6198

eISSN

1755-6201

Language

eng

Notes

Reproduced with the specific permission of the copyright owner.

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2008, Edinburgh University Press

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