ENG4419 – Children's Literature in English

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

This course offers a thorough grounding in the field of children's and young adult (YA) literature, showcasing the diversity and innovation of this rapidly growing branch of literary study. We will grapple with some of the basic theoretical questions that underpin our understanding of children’s and YA literature: what is a ‘children’s book’? How do we know whether a book is for children or adults? Can we clearly distinguish between children and adults as readers? What do we mean by the figure of ‘the child’, and what is at stake when we consider this figure in literature? How have society’s notions of ‘the child’ changed across time and cultures? Drawing on seminal theoretical work in the field, we build up the skills and analytical toolkit to examine children’s literature in a nuanced and sophisticated way. We will explore the ways in which study of children’s literature can productively intersect with a number of other literary critical approaches – feminism, ecocriticism, postcolonial theory, among others – by focusing on a series of important children’s/YA novels, spanning the nineteenth century (often regarded as a ‘Golden Age’ of children’s literature) to the present day. Students will explore how asking questions about children in literary texts opens up significant debates about culture, sexuality, gender, the environment, and much more.

Learning outcome

After completing this course, you:

  • will have an understanding of the main theoretical questions and debates underpinning the discipline of Children’s Literature
  • will be able to analyse a wide range of children’s and young adult literature in relation to theoretical issues
  • will be able to analyse narrative techniques in various kinds of literary texts, particularly how the child character and/or reader is constructed
  • will be able to relate literary works to their sociohistorical context in nuanced and sophisticated ways
  • will have advanced skills in scholarly writing in English


Seminars, 2 hours per week for 10 weeks. 20 hours in all.

Obligatory activities:

  • A first draft of the term paper turned in by a stated deadline.
  • Students are expected to attend all teaching. The quality of the teaching depends on active participation in all seminars. If you are not able to attend, you must give notice to the seminar teacher no later than the same day as the absence.

Both the obligatory activities must be approved in the same semester for you to sit the exam. Fulfilled course requirements are only valid the semester you attend the course.


The final grade is set on the basis of a written term paper (7 standard pages à 2,300 characters, 60% of the grade) and a short home exam (2 hours, 40% of the grade).

A pass mark is required on both parts. You have to take both examination parts in the same semester. 

Assessment guidelines.

Written examination

The written examination is conducted in the digital examination system Inspera. You will need to familiarize yourself with the digital examination arrangements in Inspera.

Read more about written examinations using Inspera.

Submission in Inspera

You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read more about how to submit in Inspera.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Facts about this course






Autumn 2021

Spring 2021

This course is taught irregularly


Autumn 2021

Spring 2021

Teaching language