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02/2013 Body

 

We should stop being so scared of teenagers’ reactions and start treating them as human beings,“ Lydia Kokkola demands in the interview she gave interjuli: The adolescent body and teenagers’ sexuality are still viewed primarily as abject and unruly – not only in children’s literature, but in society as a whole – and physicality in adolescents and children usually only appears in problematized contexts. Having always been an object of classification, judgement and diciplining, it is not just in children’s and young adults’ literature that the body becomes the focus of self-assessment and assesment by others. Especially in young adult literature, which deals with the bodily changes accompanying adolescence more frequently than any other type of literature due to the nature of the genre, the body thus often becomes the central object of analysis and problematisation. Bella in Twilight longs to become a vampire not least because of her unhappiness with her ageing, not entirely ideal and unathletic body, and Katniss’ body in Hunger Games becomes a playing field for various stylists and prepteams that fashionably streamline it for the upcoming games. Furthermore, especially where the protagonists’ awakening sexuality is at stake, the body offers a screen for psychological changes and symbolically mirrors the transition to adulthood in a number of youth novels – in terms of the good/arousing as well as the bad/terrifying.

This issue of interjuli (the first whose outer appearance was decided upon by the interjuli facebook community) deals with the body in children’s literature. Our articles look into the construcion of foreignness by means of physicality in Persepolis (Anna Stemmann), sexuality and gender in Twilight and Vampire Diaries (Marion Rana), constructions of identity and ethical problems of cloning in Lost Girl (Sabine Planka) and the body as an object of staging in Grenzland (Monika Hernik-M?odzianowska). Lothar Quinkenstein offers an exciting rereading of Nöstlinger’s classic Wir pfeifen auf den Gurkenkönig. Finally, we talk about sexuality and corporality in literature for children and young adults from two very different perspectives with writer Ann-Marlene Henning (Make Love) and literary scholar Lydia Kokkola (Fictions of Adolescent Carnality).

 


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