The role of the British boy detective, made famous in children’s literary favourites such as Enid Blyton’s Famous Five, will be the focus of discussion at a free event being held at University Centre Shrewsbury (UCS) next month.
Dr Lucy Andrew will officially launch her new book, The Boy Detective in Early British Children’s Literature: Patrolling the Borders between Boyhood and Manhood (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017) at 2pm on January 20, 2018, at Guildhall.
Dr Andrew will discuss her love of literature featuring boy detectives and share some of the discoveries she made about the genre while delving into the archives of the Bodleian Library.
Her book maps the development of the boy detective in British children’s literature from the mid-19th to the early-20th century in ‘penny dreadfuls’ and story papers aimed at working class boys.
In particular, it examines the value of the fictional boy detective during this period 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.
Dr Andrew is a Lecturer in English Literature and Programme Leader of the English degree at University Centre Shrewsbury. Her research specialisms are in children’s and young adult literature and crime fiction – particularly children’s crime fiction.
She has published on boy detectives, Veronica Mars, Harry Potter and supernatural detective fiction for young readers and is the co-editor of Crime Fiction in the City: Capital Crimes (University of Wales Press). She is also co-organiser of the Short Story Network, which focuses on the study of short fiction of the long 19th and early 20th centuries.
Dr Andrew said: “I started this project thinking that I would be focusing on popular detectives such as Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys and the Famous Five, but I discovered such a wealth of detective literature for the young prior to these figures that I couldn’t help but explore it. Here is a rich detective tradition that developed alongside and in response to Sherlock Holmes, but which differed in crucial ways from Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories due to the demands and desires of its juvenile audience.”
Admission to the book launch is free, but booking is essential.
To reserve a place go to www.ucshrewsbury.ac.uk/public-events
Alternatively, people can visit the reception at Guildhall (SY3 8HQ) which is open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Thursday and from 9am to 4pm on Fridays, or call 01743 297185.
The talk is part of a series of events at UCS covering a range of subjects. Many of the events are free, and they are open to everyone. For further details go to www.ucshrewsbury.ac.uk/public-events where listings are updated regularly.