Critical Approaches to Children's Literature

The Boy Detective in Early British Children’s Literature

Patrolling the Borders between Boyhood and Manhood

Authors: Andrew, Lucy

  • Draws links between juvenile and adult detective fiction which are rarely acknowledged in criticism exploring the early history of British detective fiction
  • Uses extensive archival research on ‘penny dreadfuls’ and story papers that have, until now, been overlooked
  • Contributes to gender studies by exploring the relationship between the fictional boy detective and changing societal constructions of boyhood and male adolescence 
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eBook £56.99
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-62090-9
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Hardcover £72.00
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-62089-3
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  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

This book maps the development of the boy detective in British children’s literature from the mid-nineteenth to the early-twentieth century. It explores how this liminal figure – a boy operating within a man’s world – addresses adult anxieties about boyhood and the boy’s transition to manhood. It investigates the literary, social and ideological significance of a vast array of popular detective narratives appearing in ‘penny dreadfuls’ and story papers which were aimed primarily at working-class boys. This study charts the relationship between developments in the representation of the fictional boy detective and changing expectations of and attitudes towards real-life British boys during a period where the boy’s role in the future of the Empire was a key concern. It emphasises the value of the early fictional boy detective as an ideological tool to condition boy readers to fulfil adult desires and expectations of what boyhood and, in the future, proper manhood should entail. It will be of particular importance to scholars working in the fields of children’s literature, crime fiction and popular culture.

About the authors

Lucy Andrew is Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Chester. Her research interests are in children’s and young adult literature, crime fiction and fandom.  She has published on Veronica Mars and supernatural crime fiction for young readers. She is the co-editor of Crime Fiction in the City: Capital Crimes (2013).

Table of contents (6 chapters)

  • Introduction: The Birth of the Boy Detective

    Andrew, Lucy

    Pages 1-12

  • The Corruption of Youth: Juvenile Delinquency and the Boy Detective Hero

    Andrew, Lucy

    Pages 13-51

  • Taming the Beast: Adolescence, Empire and the Detective’s Boy Assistant

    Andrew, Lucy

    Pages 53-92

  • “Be Prepared!”: Looming Conflict, Active Citizenship and the Rise of the Professional Boy Detective

    Andrew, Lucy

    Pages 93-146

  • Forever Young: The Cult of Childhood and the Schoolboy Detective

    Andrew, Lucy

    Pages 147-186

Buy this book

eBook £56.99
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-62090-9
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover £72.00
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-62089-3
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
The Boy Detective in Early British Children’s Literature
Book Subtitle
Patrolling the Borders between Boyhood and Manhood
Authors
Series Title
Critical Approaches to Children's Literature
Copyright
2017
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-3-319-62090-9
DOI
10.1007/978-3-319-62090-9
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-319-62089-3
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
IX, 243
Topics