Dead and ghostly children in contemporary literature for young people
in The Gothic and death
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The Gothic has become a dominant mode in children’s and young adult fiction published in the past decade. This chapter considers how Sonya Hartnett’s The Ghost’s Child (2007), Chris Priestley’s Uncle Montague’s Tales of Terror (2007), Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book (2008), and Ransom Riggs’ Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2011) all represent dead or ghostly children who, in diverse ways, work to critique or remedy adult actions, particularly through their interactions with history. Contemporary Gothic children’s literature is, this chapter argues, distinctly different from Gothic fictions for adults, which often represent children as the bearers of death. In contrast, Gothic children’s literature displaces the anxieties that ordinarily accompany the representation of child death in realist fiction.

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