The Myth of Cokaygne in Children's Literature
The Consuming and the Consumed Child
Year of Publication: 2011
Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2011. 121 pp., 2 fig.
ISBN 978-3-631-61423-5 pb. (Softcover)
Weight: 0.170 kg, 0.375 lbs
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In the English-speaking world, the medieval concept of Cokaygne as a paradisiac landscape made of food is merely preserved as a part of American folklore, the «Big Rock Candy Mountain». This motif of food in abundance is recurrent in children's literature, which is discussed here first of all from a psychoanalytic angle, arguing that the infant's first contact with the world is established through food intake. In addition, a scarce diet as part of child-rearing in the 19th century and the rationing system during World War II triggered the fantasy in children and adults alike. Accordingly, the medieval land of plenty found a new place in the imagination of the Victorian and post-war child. Apart from the predominant theme of the consuming child, this book also links the notion of cannibalism to the imagined cornucopia of food in children's literature, which is a frequent motif in many children's books up to the 21st century.
Contents: The Myth of Cokaygne - Literary References - An Etymological Approach to 'Cokaygne' - The Carnivalesque - Historical Background - Significant Elements of the Land of Plenty - Children and Food - A Psychoanalytical Approach - A History of Abstinence - The Land of Cokaygne in Children's Literature - The Domestic Cokaygne - Never-Ending Food Supply - The Land of Plenty - Cokaygne Reversed: The Child as an Object of Indulgence - A Socio-historical Approach to Cannibalism - The Fear of Child-Eaters - Wicked Witches - Gruesome Giants - The Starving Child in a World of Abundance.
About the author(s)/editor(s)
Franziska Burstyn studied English and Theatre Studies at the University of Leipzig and Roehampton University (UK). Her academic interests are centered on children's and young adult literature, Shakespearean theatre, folklore culture and food in the context of literature.
ALPH: Arbeiten zur Literarischen Phantastik. Bd. 6
Herausgegeben von Elmar Schenkel und Alexandra Lembert