Peter, Potter, Rabbits, Robbers
Keywords:Beatrix Potter, fantasy, realism, cultural contexts, literary contexts
Critical discourses about realism and fantasy in children's literature have in the past included discussion of the merits, and demerits, of these conventions as they differently engage child readers. Beatrix Potter's works, situated at an intersection of the two literary conventions, seem to me rather to invite a useful complication of the distinction commonly made between them. Potter is clearly a fantasist. Yet aspects of her work support a scholarly tendency to claim her for realism, and this is often done by connecting Potter's life and works. In this essay I join those who have turned Potter studies towards investigating the cultural and literary contexts within which she worked.
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