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Literature > Children's Literature

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Little Red Readings Cover

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Little Red Readings

Historical Materialist Perspectives on Children’s Literature

Angela E. Hubler

A significant body of scholarship examines the production of children's literature by women and minorities, as well as the representation of gender, race, and sexuality. But few scholars have previously analyzed class in children's literature. This definitive collection remedies that by defining and exemplifying historical materialist approaches to children's literature. The introduction of Little Red Readings lucidly discusses characteristics of historical materialism, the methodological approach to the study of literature and culture first outlined by Karl Marx, defining key concepts and analyzing factors that have marginalized this tradition, particularly in the United States.

The thirteen essays here analyze a wide range of texts--from children's bibles to Mary Poppins to The Hunger Games--using concepts in historical materialism from class struggle to the commodity. Essayists apply the work of Marxist theorists such as Ernst Bloch and Fredric Jameson to children's literature and film. Others examine the work of leftist writers in India, Germany, England, and the United States.

The authors argue that historical materialist methodology is critical to the study of children's literature, as children often suffer most from inequality. Some of the critics in this collection reveal the ways that literature for children often functions to naturalize capitalist economic and social relations. Other critics champion literature that reveals to readers the construction of social reality and point to texts that enable an understanding of the role ordinary people might play in creating a more just future. The collection adds substantially to our understanding of the political and class character of children's literature worldwide, and contributes to the development of a radical history of children's literature.

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Looking For Non-publics

Edited by Daniel Jacobi

In this book, nine researchers from France, Québec and Mexico tackle these questions through both qualitative and quantitative contributions dealing with various cultural sectors in which the question of non-publics remains unanswered. In fact, the non-public is not so much a group of non-participants but individuals blatantly incapable of appreciating a culture that is unfamiliar, even foreign. For over a century, the popular education movement, in its initial project to bring public and culture closer together, has emphasized this cultural gap, which even today, justifies the necessity for cultural mediation policies. The near-militant voluntarism of the active players in cultural mediation engenders certain expectations: after a large investment in cultural creation is it not justifiable to aspire to reach the largest possible audience?

Looking Glasses and Neverlands Cover

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Looking Glasses and Neverlands

Lacan, Desire, and Subjectivity in Children's Literatue

A “Choice” Outstanding Academic Title
This groundbreaking study introduces and explores Lacan’s complex theories of subjectivity and desire through close readings of canonical children’s books such as Charlotte’s Web, Stellaluna, Holes, Tangerine, and The Chocolate War, providing an introduction to an increasingly influential body of difficult work while making the claim that children’s textual encounters are as significant as their existential ones in constituting their subjectivities and giving shape to their desires.

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Love in a Global Village

A Celebration of Intercultural Families in the Midwest

In praise of diversity, Jessie Grearson and Lauren Smith offer Love in a Global Village: A Celebration of Intercultural Families in the Midwest, an account of the triumphs of fifteen intercultural families and the perseverance of their relationships in midwestern America. The couples recount their courtships, their adventures and difficulties, and their individual choices to create families and build lives together despite differences of race, language, religion, and culture.

Welcomed into homes in towns like Kalona, Iowa, and Springfield, Missouri, Grearson and Smith introduce readers to unexpected fusions of culture in middle America. By focusing on small communities where intercultural relationships are exceptions rather than the norm, Smith and Grearson offer affirmation that multicultural households can endure and flourish almost anywhere.

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Making Americans

Children's Literature from 1930 to 1960

Gary D. Schmidt

American children need books that draw on their own history and circumstances, not just the classic European fairy tales. They need books that enlist them in the great democratic experiment that is the United States. These were the beliefs of many of the authors, illustrators, editors, librarians, and teachers who expanded and transformed children’s book publishing between the 1930s and the 1960s.

Although some later critics have argued that the books published in this era offered a vision of a safe, secure, simple world without injustice or unhappy endings, Gary D. Schmidt shows that the progressive political agenda shared by many Americans who wrote, illustrated, published, and taught children’s books had a powerful effect. Authors like James Daugherty, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Lois Lenski, Ingri and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire, Virginia Lee Burton, Robert McCloskey, and many others addressed directly and indirectly the major social issues of a turbulent time: racism, immigration and assimilation, sexism, poverty, the Great Depression, World War II, the atomic bomb, and the threat of a global cold war.

The central concern that many children’s book authors and illustrators wrestled with was the meaning of America and democracy itself, especially the tension between individual freedoms and community ties. That process produced a flood of books focused on the American experience and intent on defining it in terms of progress toward inclusivity and social justice. Again and again, children’s books addressed racial discrimination and segregation, gender roles, class differences, the fate of Native Americans, immigration and assimilation, war, and the role of the United States in the world. Fiction and nonfiction for children urged them to see these issues as theirs to understand, and in some ways, theirs to resolve. Making Americans is a study of a time when the authors and illustrators of children’s books consciously set their eyes on national and international sights, with the hope of bringing the next generation into a sense of full citizenship.

Mieux former pour agir dans une société en mouvement Cover

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Mieux former pour agir dans une société en mouvement

Actes de colloque en format numérique

Edited by Sylvie Beaudoin

Ces actes de la sixième biennale de l’Association pour la recherche sur l’intervention en sports (ARIS), tenue à l’Université de Sherbrooke en mai 2010, témoignent du dynamisme de la recherche sur l’intervention dans les activités physiques, que ce soit en matière d’entraînement sportif, d’éducation à la santé ou d’enseignement de l’éducation physique.

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Moral Enterprise

Literature and Education in Antebellum America

Moral Enterprise: Literature and Education in Antebellum America, by Derek Pacheco, investigates an important moment in the history of professional authorship. Pacheco uses New England “literary reformers” Horace Mann, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Elizabeth Peabody, and Margaret Fuller to argue that writers came to see in educational reform, and the publication venues emerging in connection with it, a means to encourage popular authorship while validating literary work as a profession. Although today’s schools are staffed by systematically trained and institutionally sanctioned teachers, in the unregulated, decentralized world of antebellum America, literary men and women sought the financial stability of teaching while claiming it as moral grounds for the pursuit of greater literary fame. Examining the ethically redemptive and potentially lucrative definition of antebellum author as educator, this book traces the way these literary reformers aimed not merely at social reform through literature but also at the reform of literature itself by employing a wide array of practices—authoring, editing, publishing, and distributing printed texts—brought together under the aegis of modern, democratic education. Moral Enterprise identifies such endeavors by their dual valence as bold, reformist undertakings and economic ventures, exploring literary texts as educational commodities that might act as entry points into, and ways to tame, what Mann characterized as the “Alexandrian library” of American print culture.

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Postmodern Fairy Tales

Gender and Narrative Strategies

By Cristina Bacchilega

Postmodern Fairy Tales seeks to understand the fairy tale not as children's literature but within the broader context of folklore and literary studies. It focuses on the narrative strategies through which women are portrayed in four classic stories: "Snow White," "Little Red Riding Hood," "Beauty and the Beast," and "Bluebeard." Bacchilega traces the oral sources of each tale, offers a provocative interpretation of contemporary versions by Angela Carter, Robert Coover, Donald Barthelme, Margaret Atwood, and Tanith Lee, and explores the ways in which the tales are transformed in film, television, and musicals.

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Reading Like a Girl

Narrative Intimacy in Contemporary American Young Adult Literature

Sara K. Day

By examining the novels of critically and commercially successful authors such as Sarah Dessen (Someone Like You), Stephenie Meyer (the Twilight series), and Laurie Halse Anderson (Speak), Reading Like a Girl: Narrative Intimacy in Contemporary American Young Adult Literature explores the use of narrative intimacy as a means of reflecting and reinforcing larger, often contradictory, cultural expectations regarding adolescent women, interpersonal relationships, and intimacy. Reading Like a Girl explains the construction of narrator-reader relationships in recent American novels written about adolescent women and marketed to adolescent women.

Sara K. Day explains, though, that such levels of imagined friendship lead to contradictory cultural expectations for the young women so deeply obsessed with reading these novels. Day coins the term "narrative intimacy" to refer to the implicit relationship between narrator and reader that depends on an imaginary disclosure and trust between the story's narrator and the reader. Through critical examination, the inherent contradictions between this enclosed, imagined relationship and the real expectations for adolescent women's relations prove to be problematic.

In many novels for young women, adolescent female narrators construct conceptions of the adolescent woman reader, constructions that allow the narrator to understand the reader as a confidant, a safe and appropriate location for disclosure. At the same time, such novels offer frequent warnings against the sort of unfettered confession the narrators perform. Friendships are marked as potential sites of betrayal and rejection. Romantic relationships are presented as inherently threatening to physical and emotional health. And so, the narrator turns to the reader for an ally who cannot judge. The reader, in turn, may come to depend upon narrative intimacy in order to vicariously explore her own understanding of human expression and bonds.

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Rediscovering Nancy Drew

“Rediscovering Nancy Drew is a rich collection of literary memories and insightful cultural comments.�—Journal of Children’s Literature “Nancy, especially the Nancy of the original story, is our bright heroine, chasing down the shadows, conquering our worst fears, giving us a glimpse of our brave and better selves, proving to everybody exactly how admirable and wonderful a thing it is to be a girl. Thank you, Nancy Drew.�—Nancy Pickard “Nancy Drew belongs to a moment in feminist history; it is a moment, I suggest, that we celebrate, allowing ourselves the satisfaction of praising her for what she dared and forgiving her for what she failed to undertake or understand.�—Carolyn G. Heilbrun “Rediscovering Nancy Drew lights up the territory. It informs, delights, and acknowledges through love and scholarship a debt long overdue.�—Dale H. Ross In 1991, women staff and faculty at the University of Iowa discovered that the pseudonymous author of the original Nancy Drew books, Carolyn Keene, was none other than Mildred Wirt Benson, the first person to earn a master's degree in journalism at Iowa. The excitement caused by their discovery led to the 1993 Nancy Drew Conference, which explored the remarkable passion for Nancy Drew that spans a wide spectrum of American society. The result: a lively collaboration of essays by and interviews with mystery writers, collectors, publishers, librarians, scholars, journalists, and fans which presents a spirited, informative, totally enjoyable tribute to the driver of that blue roadster so many readers have coveted.

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