The Real Value of Children’s Literature: A case study in Pseudonymous Bosch

Ella Wydrzynska

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputConference publication


The study of children’s literature has progressed rapidly throughout the 20th century, and we have now reached a point where it is not only accepted as an academic field in its own right but even taught in universities worldwide. However, there remain significant gaps in the ongoing research. Primarily, terms such as ‘postmodernism’ and ‘metafiction’ are traditionally absent in academic
criticism of children’s literature. As Geoffrey Moss (1990) acknowledged, perhaps this is because these concepts are considered too difficult for children to handle. Yet Robyn McCallum (1996) later identified that such experimental techniques were becoming more mainstream in contemporary fiction. This trend has certainly continued, with the vast majority of popular junior fiction (for readers aged 8-12) now drawing on these strategies with relative frequency, although the corresponding academic awareness remains comparatively underdeveloped.

This paper intends to fill this gap, taking a stylistic approach to a prime example of contemporary fiction for junior readers: Pseudonymous Bosch’s The Secret Series. With an ostentatious, visibly creating narrator who is set against a dramatized version of the child-reader, these novels perfectly embody the most complex postmodern and metafictive strategies traditionally overlooked – even dismissed – in the academic study of children’s literature. By following Patricia Waugh’s (1984) list of typical features of postmodernist writing, I aim to illustrate the unprecedented levels of complexity to which children’s literature can – and often does – rise, therein highlighting the true academic value of such material.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPALA 2019 Proceedings Online
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019
EventPoetics and Linguistics Association Conference 2019 - University of Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom
Duration: 10 Jul 201914 Jul 2019


ConferencePoetics and Linguistics Association Conference 2019
Abbreviated titlePALA 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • postmodernism
  • metafiction
  • children's literature
  • junior fiction
  • Pseudonymous Bosch
  • Patricia Waugh


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