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The gothic in children's literature: haunting the borders

The gothic in children's literature: haunting the borders

McGillis, Roderick; Coats, Karen, 1963-; Jackson, Anna, 1967-

From creepy picture books to Harry Potter to Lemony Snicket, fear has become a dominant mode of entertainment for young readers. This collection examines the early intersection of the Gothic and children's literature and the contemporary manifestations of the gothic impulse

Hardback, Book. English.
Published London: Routledge, 2007
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Available: Newton Park

  • Newton Park – One available in Main Collection 028.5/JAC

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Statement of responsibility: edited by Anna Jackson, Roderick McGillis, Karen Coats
ISBN: 0415960363, 9780415960366
Intended audience: Specialized.
Note: Includes bibliographical references and index.
Physical Description: 256 p.
Series: Children's literature and culture ; 43
Subject: Gothic revival (Literature) Great Britain.; Gothic revival (Literature) English-speaking countries.; Children's stories, Commonwealth (English) History and criticism.; Horror in literature.; Gothic literature; Children's literature; Children's stories, English History and criticism.; Horror stories; Horror tales, English History and criticism.


  1. Introduction
  2. 1. The Haunted Nursery: 1764-1830
  3. 2. Cyberspace and the Gothic Novel
  4. 3. Frightening and Funny: Humor in Children's Gothic Fiction
  5. 4. Between Horror, Humor, and Hope: Neil Gaiman and the Psychic Work of the Gothic
  6. 5. On the Gothic Beach: A New Zealand Reading of House and Landscape in Margaret Mahy's 'The Tricksters'
  7. 6. High Winds and Broken Bridges: The Gothic and the West Indies in Twentieth Century British Fiction for Children
  8. 7. The Scary Tale Looks for a Family: Gary Crew's 'Gothic Hospital' and Sonya Hartnett's 'The Devil Latch'
  9. 8. Haunting the Borders of Sword and Sorcery: Garth Nix's 'The Seventh Tower'
  10. 9. Uncanny Ghosts, Canny Children
  11. 10. Hermione in the Bathroom: Menarche, the Grotesque, and Female Development in 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone'
  12. 11. Fantastic Books: The Gothic Architecture of Children's Books
  13. 12. The Night Side of Nature: Gothic Spaces, Fearful Times

Author note

Anna Jackson is Lecturer in English at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand.

Roderick McGillis is Professor of English at the University of Calgary. He is author of Nimble Reader: Literary Theory and Children's Literature, winner of the 1997 IRSCL Award for Distinguished research. His other books include A Little Princess: Gender and Empire(Twayne, 1996) and We Was Some Kind of Man: Masculinity in the B Western(Wilfrid Laurier University Press, forthcoming). He was one of six Senior Editors for the Encyclopedia of Children's Literature, forthcoming from Oxford University Press.

Karen Coats is Associate Professor of English at Illinois State University. She is author of Looking Glasses and Neverlands: Lacan, Desire, and Subjectivity in Children's Literature(University of Iowa Press, 2004), which was selected as a Choice Outstanding Academic Title of 2004.


The prevalence of Gothic themes in literature for young readers is the impetus for this collection, which fills a void in children's literature criticism. This timely collection presents a variety of perspectives and discusses a variety of texts, and so is a valuable addition to the literature. Recommended.  -- P. J. Kurtz, Minot State University, Choice

"Aside from the fact that this book is both compelling and interesting, it fills a necessary gap in recent children's literature criticism."  - Bookbird, Vol. 48, No. 1, January 2010