Begin trembling with fear…
While we are currently working on the new catalogue and updating the new titles blog, we would like to share with you a few words from our Editorial Director. It is a reflection on fear in children’s literature, which gives many clues as to the leitmotif of Combel’s next campaign:
Shaking with fear
“One June many years ago, four writers shared a few days’ holiday in a house on the shores of Lake Geneva in Switzerland. Besieged by a terrible weather, they spent three days in seclusion. It was then that one of them, Lord Byron, suggested that they write a terrifying story each night, as a game.
On “that night that lasted three days”, some of the most famous creatures of the horror genre were conceived: the vampire, born of Polidori’s story, and Frankenstein, by the very young Mary Shelley. This well-known episode, so unusual for the exceptionality of its literary results, brings us closer to the power of a very ancient emotion: fear.
The naturalist Charles Darwin, as early as 1872, defined it as a primary emotion that appears spontaneously in living beings and that can have survival value, both for the individual and for its species. Thus, fear is an ambivalent emotion and the reactions it triggers are multiple depending on each person; we can affirm that the way children learn to manage it will build a substantial part of their way of being.
That is why it is important that we all become familiar with fear from a young age, and that we experiment with strategies to defend ourselves from it, in order to build a more solid and mature personality.
Children’s fear, in fact, evolves over time and, from the age of six, fears diminish, as soon as they can identify them and, consequently, relativise them.
On this path, children’s stories play a fundamental role, because it is through stories and story telling that we can put ourselves in the shoes of some of the characters, identify everyday situations and recognise our own emotions without being the direct subjects, by way of catharsis. Thus, scary stories play a fundamental role in children’s literature, for the same reason that the horror genre is so important in world literature and, later, in cinema.
Thus, remembering that “terrifying” and at the same time creative encounter on the shores of Lake Geneva, we wanted to give fear a place of honour as a motif of narrative invention, also for the youngest readers.
We are proud of this heritage and we offer you, in the company of some of our authors, the chance to talk, to laugh, to look for and meet all kinds of terrifying creatures, known and unknown. Come in and you will find spiders, werewolves, trolls, zombies and witches, and maybe even a mummy.
You can also stimulate the imagination of the little ones with our adaptations of the essential fairy tales. And if you listen carefully, you may be able to hear the voices of some literary references such as Frankenstein, Dracula, the Traveller in H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde or The Adventures of Pinocchio.”
Have a look!