chapter  1
16 Pages

Children’s Literature and the Affective Turn

Affect, Emotion, Empathy
ByElizabeth Bullen, Kristine Moruzi, Michelle J. Smith

Following the cinema release of The Hunger Games, a controversy erupted on social media. Some readers of Suzanne Collins's novel registered their dismay at the casting of a young African-American actor to play the role of Rue. In spite of this, the turn to affect in the 1990s has only recently begun to make a significant impact on research in children's literature and culture. In fact, it has done so most prominently by way of the parallel cognitive turn in literary studies. Affect is fashionable. Indeed, it is almost de rigueur to acknowledge it as such. After all, more than two decades since the turn to affect as an object of, and theoretical lens for, research, affect is no longer a novelty. The distinctions between affect, feelings, and emotion clearly suggest a continuum from subliminal to conscious sensation. In contrast to adult readers and their texts, child and young adult readers occupy a developmental and experiential spectrum.