slemslempike: (girlsown: seven sisters)
[personal profile] slemslempike
[ 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.

Date: 2013-12-03 12:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Do Chalet girls meet some ATS people on the train at some point, at whom they look askance, but then turn out to be all right? Or am I confusing it with Joey being horribly snobbish towards the beatnik women in makeup on her arduous trip across Europe, staying in French chateaux and serviced apartments, to Switzerland?

The first and last books sounds interesting too. Are you interested in the difference between last books conceived as last books and last books that became last books because of illness/death/abandonment of writing career?

Fear occurs quite a bit in Marlow books, doesn't it? Do we get to see Ann's fears or are we just supposed to deduce them from her behaviour? I think we see the fears of the rest. Maybe not Rowan? We see Rowan's anger, but less her fear, I think?

Chalet girls reason from cause to effect in their class. They also discuss mountains and the correct article for them in German. And they have to answer questions on who did what in the Bible and they are mocked if they cannot pronounce Biblical names. They also read books in French about naughty children, which they find delightful and have to answer questions written on the board about J.P.s and other civic matters. But mostly predicates, I think, although we never get to see them diagramming sentences like Laura does in her teaching cert exam.

Date: 2013-12-03 05:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I loved that part about Laura's teaching exam! It was so alien to me, and seemed so impressive that I accepted wholeheartedly that a 15 year old could teach school. And I had foolishly forgotten about reasoning from cause to effect, though that seems to be an overarching theme rather than specific schoolwork they do.

I hadn't thought about last books like that - I don't think I'm particularly interested in why they're last books as long as they are in some way a completion to the series.

Date: 2013-12-03 08:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I have to admit, I find the idea for article 1 the most interesting. And while I know she's not your favourite by any stretch, Angela Brazil writes quite a bit about female involvement and service in WW1.

Your posts are making me actually yearn towards research and writing again. Really, as soon as I ever catch-up on my sleep, I'm going to break out my old USB sticks and see if any of my past research is still readable.

Date: 2013-12-04 01:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I didn't know that about Brazil, perhaps I will give her another go again.

Aw, yay! I'd love to read it if any of it is.


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