Friday, May 05, 2006

Thought for the day: Locke/Sf v. Rousseau/Fantasy?

Richard Mills distinguishes between John Locke's notion of the child as tabula rasa (1693) "it assumes an incrememental build-up of knowledge, skills, and attitudes through the acquisition and practice of literary" and Rousseau's child of nature who, "given the absence of adverse circumstances, that would be sufficent to develop...spontaeity, purity, strength and joy." (11)

What strikes me is that the sf child hero is very much Locke's child. The fantasy hero, however much there is a bildungsroman, is oriented to Rousseau's notion of the innate.

And this is despite the skill acquisition of the many thieves, knights and princes of fantasy; or the innately smarter geek heroes of science fiction .

(Mills, Richard. "Perspectives of Childhood." In Childhood Studies: A Reader in Perspectives of Childhood, edited by Jean and Richard Mills Mills, pp. 7-38. London and New York: Routledge, 2000.)


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