Vestiges of Humanity: An Examination of the Interrelation between Childhood and Posthumanity in Shade’s Children


  • Ann Dystrup Bjerregaard Aarhus University



children's literature, Shade’s Children, YA, posthumanity, humanism, childhood, innocence, biotechnology, post-apocalypse, Current Topics in Literatures in English


Western children's literature has traditionally been dominated by liberal humanism, which stresses the centrality and inviolability of the human subject. Recently, though, some speculative novels for young adults have begun to question this notion of humanity following posthumanist thinking. This article examines the post-apocalyptic YA-novel Shade's Children and investigates what view of humanity it offers and how it ties this view up with its representation of children, childhood and the concept of innocence. It is argued that although the novel undermines bodily definitions of humanity in favour of a posthuman inclusiveness, it ultimately ends up tying the idea of humanity to liberal humanist notions of cherishing the innocence of children and protecting those weaker than oneself. The novel centres on a nostalgia for the myth of innocence, which, while acknowledging the heroism and agency of its adolescent characters, also stresses the value of freedom from responsibility.


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How to Cite

Bjerregaard, A. D. (2018). Vestiges of Humanity: An Examination of the Interrelation between Childhood and Posthumanity in Shade’s Children. Leviathan: Interdisciplinary Journal in English, (2), 32–45.