The Child That Haunts Us

Symbols and Images in Fairytale and Miniature Literature
By Susan Hancock
Pages: 168
Published by: Routledge
Publication Date: 7th November 2008
ISBN: 978-0-415-44776-8; 0415447763

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Child That Haunts Us


About the Book

The Child That Haunts Us focuses on the symbolic use of the child archetype through the exploration of miniature characters from the realms of children’s literature.

Jung argued that the child archetype should never be mistaken for the ‘real’ child. In this book Susan Hancock considers how the child is portrayed in literature and fairytale and explores the suggestion from Jung and Bachelard that the symbolic resonance of the miniature is inversely proportionate to its size.

We encounter many instances where the miniature characters are a visibly vulnerable ‘other’, yet often these occur in association with images of the supernatural, as the desired or feared object of adult imagination. In The Child That Haunts Us it is emphasised that the treatment by any society, past or present, of its smallest and most vulnerable members is truly revealing of the values it really holds.

This original and sensitive exploration will be of particular interest to undergraduate and postgraduate students as well as academics engaged in Jungian studies, children’s literature, childhood studies and those with an interest in socio-cultural constructions of childhood.


"In this scholarly and important study of children’s literature, Susan Hancock decisively explores the mysteries and contradictions surrounding the adult perceptions of childhood. The Child That Haunts Us is a brilliant fusion of Jungian criticism and insightful historical analysis. This is an invaluable book for clinicians and the humanities alike." – Susan Rowland, Professor of English and Jungian Studies, University of Greenwich

Table of Contents

Introduction. Part I. Fairytale Manikins. Nineteenth-Century Female Miniatures. Part II. Odysseys and the Motherland. Post-war Britain and Europe. Suffering Children. Conclusion. Notes. Bibliography. Index.

About the Author(s)

Susan Hancock supervises postgraduate students at the National Centre for Research in Children’s Literature, Roehampton University, London. She has worked in the field of Children’s Literature studies and children’s reading for over ten years, having a particular interest in psychoanalytic criticism. A member of the International Association for Jungian Studies, Susan’s recent publications relate to Jungian readings of fantasy fiction.