ERIC Number: EJ1116748
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Abstractor: As Provided
Benjamin, Benson, and the Child's Gaze: Childhood Desire and Pleasure in the David Blaize Books
Tribunella, Eric L.
Pedagogy, Culture and Society, v24 n4 p505-515 2016
Walter Benjamin's writings on children and their books reflect a desire to imagine different possibilities in perceiving and engaging with the world. Benjamin's child, like the flâneur, experiences a particular way of seeing unfettered by instrumentality and characterised by a sense of wonder, aimlessness of path or purpose, and keen interest in triviality and detritus. Benjamin's interest in the imaginative work of the child's gaze, of his wanderings through fantastical cityscapes, and of his manipulation of toys and objects provides a way of reading the children's works of E.F. Benson: the 1916 school story "David Blaize" and the 1918 nonsense fantasy "David Blaize and the Blue Door." Benson represents a tradition in children's literature of using the child to reconfigure adult systems or expectations. For both Benjamin and Benson, the child stands poised to defy instruction, and in Benson's children's books, David uses sight and touch to enact a different model for experiencing pleasure and consummating desire.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
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