Dec. 3rd, 2013

slemslempike: (girlsown: seven sisters)
[ profile] katlinel asked what more stuff would you like to write about children's books?

There are two ideas I've had for a while. The first is something I wrote an essay about at university, but would quite like to revisit and do it properly, about the representation of WW2 women's services in children's books. The essay was about WW1, WW2, Falklands and Iraq wars (with a footnote about sheep), but it was too shallow and there's only really a lot of examples in WW2. Mostly I wrote then about the hierarchies, with very few Old Girls from school stories are in the ATS, which was not considered appropriate for nice girls.

The second is about tracing the changes from the beginning to end of the longer running series - Chalet School, Abbey Girls, Dimsie. When I first started thinking about this I was even more untheoretical than now, but I had had ideas about professionalisation ofof schools, and a change from "feminine" to "masculine" values. Mostly it would be a comparison, from the early 20th century, and the values and ambitions of the novels, to their finishing points after the authors had found success, been through a world war, and changed their characters to fit the times (or not changed them, and shoved them in a world of folk dancing and aristocrats). I don't know - I think that has been done in various forms already, and is probably not all that interesting at the heart of it. I'd still quite like to do something about the first and last novels in each series. Maybe more of a personal reading project than a writing thing.

I've just remembered an lj conversation ages and ages ago where [ profile] cangetmad came up with the title "funk and functionality" and I thought I could write something about fear in children's books, possibly the Marlow books iirc, but I am less sure about that. And somewhere I have a not even half finished spreadsheet containing information about what Chalet Girls do in their lessons and prep, and in what class. Fail to find predicates, mostly, I think.

Anyway, I don't think it very likely that I will write these, certainly not very soon. I am very bad at working off my own bat, so it would have to be spurred by a call for papers, and I don't look for those very often. But then I did like writing the class article, so maybe I will get to it some day.


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