Michael Chabon has authored a new essay, which appears in the July 16 issue of The New York Review of Books and is available online.
Titled “Manhood for Amateurs: The Wilderness of Childhood,” the essay explores why allowing children to have parentless adventures is important to developing their imaginations. Chabon, in the essay, questions whether the growing concern of parents for their childrens safety, and the accompanying decrease in freedom children get to explore the world alone, will have long-lasting effects on literature and creativity more generally in coming generations.
“The thing that strikes me now when I think about the Wilderness of Childhood is the incredible degree of freedom my parents gave me to adventure there,” Chabon writes. “A very grave, very significant shift in our idea of childhood has occurred since then. The Wilderness of Childhood is gone; the days of adventure are past. The land ruled by children, to which a kid might exile himself for at least some portion of every day from the neighboring kingdom of adulthood, has in large part been taken over, co-opted, colonized, and finally absorbed by the neighbors.”
(Side note: The title of the essay is the same as Chabon’s up-coming non-fiction book of essays, Manhood for Amateurs. The New York Review of Books gives no indication if the essay will appear in the book.)