University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Little Monsters: Austerity, Anxiety, and the Monstrous Child in Doris Lessing’s The Fifth Child

Arnold, Lucy ORCID: (2021) Little Monsters: Austerity, Anxiety, and the Monstrous Child in Doris Lessing’s The Fifth Child. Contemporary Women's Writing. vpab038. ISSN Online 1754-1476

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The popular imagination of the 1970s and 1980s was a fertile breeding ground for monstrous children who proliferated within a political climate where austerity was becoming a central concept in Thatcherite thinking. In this article, I argue that, despite their neoliberal positioning as possessing certain modes of capital, children become “monstrous” in Doris Lessing’s The Fifth Child through their association with precisely the kinds of excess which austerity politics condemns, constituting a corporeal and economic threat. I read these “little monsters” as articulations of the social anxieties about lack and scarcity upon which austerity is based and which it subsequently generates and, more broadly, as inscriptions of the ambivalent position of the child within Thatcherite policy and rhetoric.

Item Type: Article
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Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
Divisions: College of Arts, Humanities and Education > School of Humanities
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Copyright Info: © The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press; all rights reserved.
Depositing User: Lucy Arnold
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2022 11:44
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2022 11:44

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