For generations the elements of humor, poignancy, fantasy, and unfettered morality found within acclaimed children’s author Roald Dahl’s most famous tales have captivated both children and adults. Classics like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Matilda, and The BFG may initially appear to be yarns spun for the amusement of the adolescent mind, however, upon digging deeper one uncovers a treasure trove of philosophical richness that is anything but childish, but in fact reveals the true existential weight, and multi-layered meaning of some of our favorite children’s stories. Editor Jacob M. Held has collected the insights of today’s leading philosophers into the significances, messages, and greater truths at which Dahl’s rhythmic writing winks, revealing a whole new way to appreciate the creation of a man and mind to which readers of all ages are still drawn.
|Publisher:||Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)|
About the Author
Jacob M. Held is associate professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at the University of Central Arkansas. He is the editor of Dr. Seuss and Philosophy: Oh, the Thinks You Can Think! R&L 2011.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Roald Dahl and Absurdity: Children’s Literature and the Divorce between the Mind that Desires and the World that Disappoints
Jacob M. Held
1 Epicurus and the Chocolate Factory
2 On Getting Our Just Desserts: Willy Wonka, Immanuel Kant, and the Summum Bonum
Jacob M. Held
3 Matilda, Existentialist Super-Hero
4 The Existential Journey of James Henry Trotter: Kierkegaard, Freedom, and Despair in James and the Giant Peach
Matthew Bokma and Adam Barkman
5 Of Mice and (Posthu)Man: Roald Dahl’s The Witches and Ethics Beyond Humanism
6 “Who is this Crazy Man?”: Willy Wonka’s Uneasy Predicament
7 “He will be altered quite a bit:” Discipline and Punishment in Willy Wonka’s Factory
8 Matilda and the Philosophy of Education, or What’s an Education For?
John V. Karavitis
9 Shattering the Glass Elevator: Authenticity and Social Order in the Works of Roald Dahl
Joseph J. Foy and Timothy M. Dale
10 The Fantastically Just Mr. Fox: Property and Distributive Justice According to Foxes and other Diggers
Jacob M. Held
11 Willy Wonka and the Imperial Chocolate Factory
12 George’s Marvelous Medicine, or: What Should We Do About Global Hunger?
13 Crodswoggle, Flushbunking, and All Things Friendship in the BFG
14 Charlie and the Nightmare Factory: The Art of Children’s Horror Fiction
15 Brimful of Buzzburgers: A Human Bean’s Wild Possibilities
16 Dewey, Negative Capability, and the Wonder of Roald Dahl
Twits, Witches, and Dirty Beasts: Author Bios