Children's Literature, Culture, and Cognition
Children’s Literature and the Avant-Garde is the first study that investigates the intricate influence of the avant-garde movements on children’s literature in different countries from the beginning of the 20th century until the present. Examining a wide range of children’s books from Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Russia, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the USA, the individual chapters explore the historical as well as the cultural and political aspects that determine the exceptional character of avant-garde children’s books. Drawing on studies in children’s literature research, art history, and cultural studies, this volume provides comprehensive insights into the close relationships between avant-garde children’s literature, images of childhood, and contemporary ideas of education. Addressing topics such as the impact of exhibitions, the significance of the Bauhaus, and the influence of poster art and graphic design, the book illustrates the broad range of issues associated with avant-garde children’s books. More than 60 full-color illustrations demonstrate the impressive variety of design in avant-garde picturebooks and children’s books.
This chapter compares the Soviet and the Western children’s books of the 1920s–1930s. The creative output of the Soviet innovative artists and writers was in many respects isomorphic to the production of the modernist left artists and educators in the West. The various kinds of formal experiments in the sphere of visual representation are considered in detail. An important topic that is investigated is the “production book”, the genre of children’s books about machines and about how things are made. It corresponds with the idea of “here and now” proclaimed by the American educator Lucy Sprague Mitchell. A special emphasis is placed on the demonstration of similarities in the concepts of the New Man (Soviet) and the New Generation (American).