Upon the “discovery of childhood,” as named by Philippe Ariès, bourgeois culture and modern literature marked out an arcane realm that, while scarcely accessible for adults, acted as a space for projections of the most contradictory kind and diverse ideological purposes: childhood. As this book reveals, from the eighteenth century onwards, the child increasingly came into focus in literature as a mysterious creature. Now the child seems a strange being, constantly unsettling and alienating, although exposed to ongoing territorialization. This is possible because the space of “childhood” is essentially blank and indefinite. Modernity, therefore, has discovered it as a zone, in the words of Friedrich Schiller of “boundless determinability.”
Davide Giuriato is professor for modern German literature at the University of Zurich. Other publications include: Mikrographien. Zu einer Poetologie des Schreibens in Walter Benjamins Kindheitserinnerungen (2006); »klar und deutlich«. Ästhetik des Kunstlosen im 18./19. Jahrhundert (2015); Adalbert Stifter-Handbuch (co-editor with Christian Begemann, 2017).