This book documents American modernism's efforts to disenchant adult and child readers alike of the essentialist view of childhood as redemptive, originary, and universal. For James, Barnes, Du Bois, and Stein, the twentieth century's move to position the child at the center of the self and society raised concerns about the shrinking value of maturity and prompted a critical response that imagined childhood and children's narratives in ways virtually antagonistic to both. In this original study, Michelle H. Phillips argues that American modernism's widespread critique of childhood led to some of the period's most meaningful and most misunderstood experiments with interiority, narration, and children's literature.
Michelle H. Phillips is a Lecturer in the English Department at Howard University, USA. She works in the fields of modernism, African American literature, and childhood studies and has published in numerous journals including African American Review, Children's Literature, and PMLA.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
American Modernism, Childhood, and The Inward Turn
The "Partagé Child" and The Emergence of The Modernist Novel in Henry James's What Maisie Knew
An Innocence Worse Than Evil in The Turn of The Screw
Nightwood: A Bedtime Story
The Children of Double Consciousness: From The Souls of Black Folk to The Brownies' Book
Drowning In Childhood: Gertrude Stein's Late Modernism