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Secret Spaces of Childhood

Subjects: Cultural Studies, Fiction, Literary Studies, American Literature
Ebook : 9780472026005, 368 pages, 16 drawings, 13 B&W photographs, 17 color photograph insert, March 2010
Paperback : 9780472068456, 368 pages, 16 drawings, 13 B&W photographs, 17 color photograph insert, 6 x 9, September 2003
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This eclectic, wide-ranging anthology of essays, art, poetry, fiction, and memoir gathers distinguished contributors, from Wole Soyinka to Joyce Carol Oates

Description

Whether it's real or imaginary, every child has a secret space, and this remarkable book explores them all. For some it's a treehouse or a hidden spot beneath a bush; for others it's a private psychic refuge--a favorite book, or a dollhouse that becomes a stage for a young imagination. As the more than four dozen pieces collected here reveal, such spaces play a key role in a child's development and retain a symbolic power that resonates throughout our adult lives. No reader will put this book down without experiencing a rush of familiar memories and new insights into that bygone world.
Poet Diane Ackerman evokes that "parallel universe behind the eyes / which no one shared, or dare discover"; Paul Brodeur recalls the "fort" where he and his brother defended Cape Cod against invaders in World War II; Nobelist Wole Soyinka offers a poignant verse portrait of Africa's lost children; and Paul West remembers youthful encounters with his eccentric neighbors Edith and Osbert Sitwell. Elsewhere, Robert Coles summons up memories of his first years as a doctor and a wise young patient who taught him a lesson he has never forgotten, and Mary Galbraith shows how childhood loss is transformed into art in Ludwig Bemelmans's classic Madeline. And these are just a few of the gems in a treasury that includes Anne Frank, the controversial photographs of Sally Mann and the crudely eloquent drawings of young South African refugees, clinical case studies and profoundly personal imagery.
A perceptive, thought-provoking work for general readers, Secret Spaces of Childhood opens a wonderful window on the world of the young.
Elizabeth Goodenough is Lecturer in Comparative Literature, the Residential College, University of Michigan.

Elizabeth Goodenough is Lecturer in Comparative Literature, the Residential College, University of Michigan.

Listen to an interview with Elizabeth Goodenough on WBAI Eco Logic | 12/30/2008