In the literature of the nineteenth century, the range of works written specifically for young readers is expanding, folklore traditions are rethought, new genres are emerging. The section “English Children's Literature of the 19th Century” presents the work of the founders of the literature of the absurd, nonsense — E. Lear and L. Carroll. With a fantastic “world inverted”, subtle humor, and sometimes satire, they influenced the further development of children's literature.
“English children’s literature of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries” presents artists of the word who wrote specifically for young children.
The child becomes an independent and self-valuable hero of literature — not as an edifying model for behavior, but as a person in her individual and social development. We see this in the works of D. M. Barry, B. Potter. The traditions of animalistic tales are developed in the works of D.R. Kipling, H. Lofting, C. Graham, B. Potter.
The section “US Literature at the End of the 19th — Beginning of the 20th Century” is dedicated to D. C. Harris, in whose works the traditions of American folklore developed, and to L. F. Baum, the founder of the American literary tale.
Children's literature is developing extremely dynamically, and the fact that it is difficult to clearly define the scope of this concept is recognized by many literary scholars. British literary critic P.Hant in the preface to the "International Encyclopedia of Children's Literature," explains the interdisciplinary nature of this phenomenon: is an extremely important role, not only authors but also illustrators, publishers, educators, bibliographers, historians, critics, the awards committee, and so on.
H. Evers, one of the leading researchers of children's literature in Germany, also emphasizes the lack of a single subject. In his opinion, we are talking about "a multitude of largely overlapping cultural fields" (hereinafter, unless otherwise indicated, the author’s translation. — IR) [Ewers 2000: 2]. Thus, a comprehensive definition cannot be found; Evers gives several equivalent definitions, each of which describes one of the above fields. Children's literature is considered as a combination of text corps with specific characteristics. First of all, a German researcher suggests understanding by children’s literature all works actually read by children; it can also be called "children's reading."
A separate building is made up of books intended for adults by children. They are opposed by literature accepted and loved by children, but not initially oriented towards them. H. Evers produces further fragmentation of definitions, which can be divided into two main groups according to whether the comparative criterion is at the level of literary or purely linguistic content.
Along with the hypothesis that children's literature cannot be unambiguously determined because of its exceptional diversity, there is a more radical view in English-speaking space. According to him, children's literature is absent as such, representing only an idea in the minds of adults, a means by which adults delimit themselves from children. One of the adherents of this theory is the essayist and culturologist J. Earley. Currently, however, more and more dual-addressing works are appearing to refute his point of view.
In 1828, the literary historian J.-J. Ampère, discussing the collection of E.T.A. Hoffmann's Fantasies in Callots Manier (1814), replaced the word "fantasy", which seemed to him inappropriate for so gloomy works, the word "fiction." It began to be used in France to refer to works reminiscent of Hoffmann's stories and tales in terms of content or atmosphere. From here the term "fiction literature" originates. As applied to children's literature, the term “fiction” was first used in 1954: A. Krueger defined a genre different from a fairy tale as “a fantastic adventure story”
Tsod Todorov draws attention to the romantic clash of two worlds with a different structure and principles as one of the hallmarks of a fantastic genre. The definition of fiction given by Todorov in his Introduction to Fantastic Literature has long been considered a textbook and remains influential to this day [Meissner 1989: 10]. According to the French structuralist, the fantastic lies in the moment of hesitation experienced by an implicit reader when contrasting the ordinary world with the world of the miraculous, supernatural: what explanation of the depicted events to choose?
"Uncertainty" is used by Todorov as the distinction between the fantastic and the miraculous: in the second, supernatural elements do not cause surprise or any other strong reaction either among the heroes or the reader. Subsequently, doubt about the “reality” of the work taking place in the world began to be considered the main feature of such a genre variety as “minimalist” or “borderline” fantasy (minimal / marginal fantasy), which arose in Great Britain after 1945 [Townsend 1996]. For Todorov, another lack of a possible symbolic interpretation of what is happening becomes another genre criterion: the fantastic must be taken literally, which is possible only when the reader is ready to go beyond his real experience. In this regard, Todorov attributes to fiction literature topics that are usually perceived as social taboos, and further laments the loss of this position by this genre with the development of psychoanalysis. Thus, for Todorov there is no modern science fiction literature.
For a number of researchers [Freund 1979, Marzin 1982 et al.], The criterion for defining fiction literature is at the content level. Most often, it is “a violation of the generally accepted order, an invasion of something unacceptable in the framework of everyday life, contrary to its unshakable laws” [Kayua 2006: 110-11]. At the same time, genres with one-dimensional structure (such as a fairy tale and fantasy), not identified by these researchers with science fiction, make a complete substitution of reality for a world in which there is nothing but miracles. V. Meisner believes that one layer of a work must comply with the principle of realism (the components of the text at this level follow the laws of logical and empirical thinking and the worldview based on it), while the other layer should contradict it.
The contact of the two levels can occur under various circumstances; it is important, however, that the laws of one of them change when the other appears in a way that would inherently be impossible.
G. Haas develops a similar idea using the theory of C. Levy-Strauss about primitive, "wild" thinking. According to it, all people, events, and objects are interconnected, however, these connections are illogical and cannot be rationally explained. Thus, we are not talking about a conscious thought process, but rather about a sequence of associations, patterns, forming in the mind on the basis of sensory perception. Signs of science fiction are: following its own logic, not always explainable from the outside the connection of elements; plot components, motives, characters are either heterogeneous, logically incoherent initially, or become such in a fantastic combinatorics; the presence of magic and its own characters, time travel and so on.