Crossover Literature and Age in Crisis at the Turn of the 21st Century
Harry Potter’s Kidults and the Twilight Moms
Maria Verena Peters (geb. Siebert)|2018
University of Siegen
All-age literature, Crossover literature, Harry Potter, Twilight
At the turn of the 21st century, the widely visible popularity of children’s and young adult literature with adult readers lead literary and social critics to ask whether the inhabitants of Western culture were refusing to grow up. Whilst books had been crossing over the line between the adult and children’s book market ever since the separation into two markets had been introduced, the perceived rise in this traffic led to a felt crisis concerning age and identity. At the example of the Harry Potter and the Twilight novels, Maria Verena Peters analyzes the discourse about childhood, coming of age and adulthood inside and outside the pages of children’s and young adult literature as the 20th century came to an end and a new millennium was beginning. Her analysis suggests that this discourse was determined by an anxiety that without the patriarchal, heterosexual, nuclear family, age cannot serve to produce meaningful identity categories. Beyond the policing of gender and sexuality, the discourse of age in crisis – as the examples of Harry Potter’s kidults and the Twilight moms serve to show – also functions to naturalize notions of class and consumption. In addition to the prominent two novel series of the title, the PhD thesis covers a wide range of popular culture artefacts, from Near Dark to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and from The Big Bang Theory to Hotter than my Daughter. It builds upon key findings of fan studies to uncover the intersectionality of age, gender, class and consumption in the marketing, reception and critique of children’s and young adult literature.
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