The phenomenon of liminality appears in the earliest children’s texts, but the term itself is a coinage from Scottish anthropologist Victor Turner (1969), who drew on liminaire, a term used by Arnold Van Gennep in his ethnographical writings on preindustrial societies to designate the middle, transitional stage of a three-stage paradigmatic rite of passage: “rites which accompany every change of place, state, social position and age” (quoted in Turner 1969, 94). Joseph Campbell adapted this construct as a basis for The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949), an example of Turner’s long shadow on literary studies.

This essay may be found on page 116 of the printed volume.

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