We're meeting 5.15pm odd Mondays in the History of the Book Room again this term; directions to the faculty can be found here - and here's what we have to look forward to:
Week 1 (April 26): Play, Edwardian Empire, and Baden-Powell's Scouting for Boys. Prof. Elleke Boehmer, Professor of World Literature in English, Wolfson College
Professor Boehmer will explore some of the many contradictions inherent in Baden-Powell's Scouting for Boys, a highly ideological text that expounds imperial values yet also promotes the creative and non-directed aspects of play and performance. She will question whether empire at its height in fact opened these contradictions, and if that might begin to explain why this period of literary history produced an outpouring of children's literature.
Week 3 (May 10): Frances Hodgson Burnett and The Secret Garden. Prof. Gretchen Gerzina, George Eastman Visiting Professor, Balliol College
Professor Gerzina will discuss the life and works of Frances Hodgson Burnett, especially with regard to her present-day reputation as an author primarily for children. Her most famous works for a child audience (The Secret Garden, A Little Princess, Little Lord Fauntleroy) were greatly overshadowed during her lifetime by the wealth of other material she produced, including 53 novels and thirteen plays written primarily for adults. The highest paid woman author of her time, Burnett's life and work will be re-examined in light of images, biographical materials, and new textual interpretation, reviving and reinterpreting the image of The Secret Garden's author that we have today.
Week 5 (May 24): Mirrors and Windows: Diversity and Children's Publishing. Ms Laura Atkins, Lecturer, National Centre for Research in Children's Literature (NCRCL), Roehampton University
Ms Atkins will look at recent controversies in the children's publishing world around race and representation, drawing partially from her own experience editing multicultural picture books in the United States. How are non-white characters represented in books published in the US, and how are these representations directed by the editorial and publication process? Recent discussion around this topic on the blogosphere will be shared before the floor is opened up for questions. With the election of a black president some have said the US is now a 'post-racial' society, but Ms Atkins will suggest just the opposite.
Week 7 (June 7): 'The Simple Creed / Of Childhood': Poetic Progeny and the Early Romantics. Amelia Greene, University College
Amelia's research for the M.St. focuses on issues of abandonment, illegitimacy, and independence as they relate to the status of children and ideas of childhood during the early part of the Romantic period. Examining the autonomous, non-social, foraging, 'natural' child found in both Wordsworth and Coleridge, and revisiting the Blakean representation of the dependent, socially and politically contingent, often urban, youth, Amelia will explore the ways in which Romantic poetry serves to simultaneously celebrate the literary ideal of the abstract 'Child' and to repress, neglect, or de-emphasise the troubled social status of British children during the period.
Hope to see many of you there!