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"I write to frighten myself": Catherine Storr and the development of children's literature in Britain

Lookup NU author(s): Emerita Professor Kim Reynolds



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


In Britain, children’s literature studies emerged in the late 1960s, largely through the activities of what is now the Graduate School of Education at the University of Exeter. This article uses the Catherine Storr archive to revisit some of the contexts and concerns of those early days, many of which continue to have relevance. Storr was involved in aspects of the initial Exeter projects. A children’s writer known for unsettling stories that often made use of supernatural or Gothic elements, she also spoke and wrote about the importance of fear in children’s literature. Her work provides the focus of this discussion of the relationship between frightening fiction for children, the interest in psychological approaches to reading and producing children’s literature evinced in the foundational work at Exeter and still evident today, and current concerns about the wellbeing of British children.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Reynolds K

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Children's Literature in Education

Year: 2019

Volume: 50

Issue: 4

Pages: 449-463

Print publication date: 01/12/2019

Online publication date: 31/10/2017

Acceptance date: 02/10/2017

Date deposited: 24/10/2017

ISSN (print): 0045-6713

ISSN (electronic): 1573-1693

Publisher: Springer Netherlands


DOI: 10.1007/s10583-017-9339-1


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