The Child, Nature and the Urban in Children's Literature

Giorgia Grilli

Abstract


The so-called ‘classics’ of Children’s Literature – written during the massive process of urbanization in the Western world – almost never have a city as their background. On the contrary, they tend to radicalize the link between childhood and the natural landscape as the only condition for childhood to be such. The Romantic legacy associating the child to nature makes it impossible for us to see children comfortably inhabiting the city and has even brought – in the massively urbanized world of our times – some scholars to theorize the disappearance of childhood. If we want to imagine (and hopefully design) cities that can actually be dealt with by children, we have to become aware of the symbolic projections that, as a culture, we tend to associate to children, and we have to start to ‘naturalize’ their presence also in the urban, as some authors and illustrators of children’s books do.

Keywords


Children’s literature; City; Nature; Childhood; Romanticism

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DOI: 10.6092/issn.1825-8670/9691

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