CFP – Metafiction, Metalepsis, and the Postmodern Language Game in Children’s Literature

CFP: Metafiction, Metalepsis, and the Postmodern Language Game in Children’s Literature
Panel for ACLA, Harvard 2016

While there is a plethora of critical readings on the intertextuality of fairytales, there is significantly less attention drawn to the metaleptic and metafictional attributes embedded in the rest of the children’s literature canon. Picturebooks, to give but one specific example, utilize metaleptic devices profusely, either as a means to highlight the potentiality of language games (for example to teach the alphabet, rules of punctuation, etc) or as a writerly activity that anticipates an active reader. Mike Cadden’s edited collection of essays Telling Children’s Stories: Narrative Theory and Children’s Literature as well as Sylvia Joyce Pantaleo and Lawrence R. Sipe’s edited volume Postmodern Picturebooks: Play, Parody, and Self-Referentiality mark the beginning of an intriguing connection between the breaking of illusion and children’s literature. This panel would like to solicit presentations that could expand on the limited discourse on the uses, intentions, and implications of metaleptic and metafictional devices in children’s literature. Readings of children’s literature that foreground their fictionality to the young reader and/or flaunt fiction’s fictional make-up are particularly welcomed. Papers may address but are not limited to the following topics:

  • Picturebooks and frame-breaking
  • Novel-within-the-novel in children’s fiction
  • Paratexts, intertexts, and metatexts in children’s literature
  • Intermediality in children’s literature: the superimposing of mediums
  • Online children’s books: the meta-reader of online children’s fiction
  • Metalepsis or metafiction in animated children’s films and TV shows
  • Kaleidoscope and hypertext novels/picturebooks
  • Meta-poetry in children’s literature
  • Worldless picture books
  • Metalepsis and illustrations
  • Young-reader as author
  • Case studies/children’s accounts on metafictional children’s literature

Please send abstracts to for provisional acceptance or rejection before Sep. 23, or submit abstracts through the ACLA website by September 23.