Mark’s post on twins poses an interesting question – where did kid-lit twins vanish to? – and then lets it tantalisingly hang. So here’s two half-baked explanations!

i. A shift in the idea of kid-ness. When the heroes of childrens literature tend to come as fully-formed gangs – the Famous Five, the Pevensies, the Arthur Ransome kids – making two of said gang twins opened up a few marginal story possibilities. But it seems to me that now heroes in kid-lit tend to start more as loners who work their way – by luck or effort or magic – into companionship. If this is the current winning structure for kid-lit then twin protagonists clearly closes off story elements.

Ii. A shift in the idea of twin-ness. The focus of thinking about twins seems to have moved from an external one which saw them as largely comical (mistaken identity being the most obvious device), to an internal one in which the ‘psychic bond’ (whether real or actual) of twin-ness is emphasised more, and the comedy moves to spookiness.

A big counter to both of these is surely Mary-Kate and Ashley, twinnish screen heroines whose adventures I have never seen but appear to be entirely trad.