Call for papers: Asterisks and Obelisks: Greece and Rome in Children’s Literature.
University of Wales Lampeter, 6-10 July 2009.
Organisers: Helen Lovatt (Nottingham); Owen Hodkinson (Lampeter).

Keynote speakers: Prof. Edith Hall, RHUL
Prof. Sheila Murnaghan, Pennsylvania
Prof. Deborah Roberts, Haverford College

Children’s authors confirmed as participating:

Michael Cadnum (author of many versions of classical myths based on Ovid Metamorphoses)
Lucy Coats (Atticus the storyteller’s Greek myths)
Caroline Lawrence (the Roman Mysteries series),

Deadline for abstracts: 1 December 2008

This conference will be the first major conference on receptions of classics in children’s literature. Abstracts (up to 300 words) are invited for papers (20 or 40 minutes) on any aspect of the reception of classics (broadly construed: Greek and Roman texts, myths, culture, history, etc.) in children’s literature. We aim to bring together contributors from a wide range of disciplines to gain different perspectives on the issues (classics, English and other modern languages, children’s literature specialists, as well as authors of modern children’s literature reflecting the classical world, classics teachers, classics outreach staff, etc). Contributions will range from broader papers addressing issues specific to reception in children’s literature, to readings focussing on particular texts and receptions. See further details below.

Please send abstracts to o.hodkinson and helen.lovatt; please give full name and title, institution, provisional title of the paper, and specify whether a 20 or 40 minute paper.

Questions and issues to be explored (not exhaustive: any relevant topic will be considered):

* what have been the roles of children’s literature in contributing to the broader awareness of the Classical world, from the beginning of children’s literature to the present? What (other) roles should it play?
* what roles have and could children’s literature play(ed) in more general education and in stimulating thought and imagination, in particular through encounters with Classical myths, history, society, etc.
* what makes something ‘children’s literature’, ‘teen fiction’, etc? (Why) is literature less likely to be studied by literary scholars and taken seriously by literary critics and commentators if it has such labels?
* has the advent and flourishing of such kinds of literature from the Victorian period onwards led to the labelling of stories with fantastical, mythological, and perhaps other elements previously at home in main-stream literature as children’s literature, or as not ‘serious’ literature? Is there anything inherently ‘childish’ in the appeal of myths or other aspects of the Classical world?

Explorations of these and other relevant issues through discussion focussed upon particular texts or authors, and papers directly addressing methodological or other broader questions, will be equally welcome. The above points are by no means intended to be exhaustive or prescriptive.