Topologies of the Classical World in Children's Fiction: Palimpsests, Maps, and Fractals

ISBN : 9780198846031

Claudia Nelson; Anne Morey
288 ページ
138 x 216 mm
Classical Presences

Beginning with Rudyard Kipling and Edith Nesbit and concluding with best-selling series still ongoing at the time of writing, this volume examines works of twentieth- and twenty-first-century children's literature that incorporate character types, settings, and narratives derived from the Greco-Roman past. Drawing on a cognitive poetics approach to reception studies, it argues that authors typically employ a limited and powerful set of spatial metaphors - palimpsest, map, and fractal - to organize the classical past for preteen and adolescent readers. Palimpsest texts see the past as a collection of strata in which each new era forms a layer superimposed upon a foundation laid earlier; map texts use the metaphor of the mappable journey to represent a protagonist's process of maturing while gaining knowledge of the self and/or the world; fractal texts, in which small parts of the narrative are thematically identical to the whole, present the past in a way that implies that history is infinitely repeatable. While a given text may embrace multiple metaphors in presenting the past, associations between dominant metaphors, genre, and outlook emerge from the case studies examined in each chapter, revealing remarkable thematic continuities in how the past is represented and how agency is attributed to protagonists: each model, it is suggested, uses the classical past to urge and thus perhaps to develop a particular approach to life.


List of Illustrations
1 Introduction
1.1 The Models
1.2 Sample Exception #1: Mirroring in Echo Echo
1.3 Sample Exception #2: Insides and Outsides in Bull
1.4 Sample Exception #3: Curves vs. Straight Lines in The Mark of the Horse Lord
1.5 Conclusion
2 HISTORY IS A PALIMPSEST 1: The Layers of Ancient Rome in Puck of Pook's Hill and Its Successors
2.1 Foundations: Puck of Pook's Hill
2.2 Layers for Adults: Three Fantasies
2.3 Layers for Children: Three Fantasies
2.4 Beyond Fantasy: Philip Turner's Yorkshire Palimpsest
2.5 Conclusion
3 HISTORY IS A PALIMPSEST 2: Time Zones, Scars, and Family in (Mostly) Realistic Works
3.1 Magical Rules and Classical Tradition in The Enchanted Castle
3.2 Liminality and Mixed Metaphors in Three Novels by Caroline Dale Snedeker
3.3 Trauma, Family, and History in The Bronze Bow
3.4 Wounding in The Eagle of the Ninth
3.5 Conclusion
4 HISTORY IS A MAP 1: Navigating the Underworld
4.1 A Map Text Without a Map: The Story of the Amulet
4.2 Underworlds and (Platonic) Caves in The Silver Chair
4.3 Underworlds and Returns in Mystery at Mycenae and The Roman Mysteries
4.4 Symbolic Underworlds and Shifting Scripts in the Roman Pony Trilogy
4.5 Mapping the Orpheus Myth in the Jack Perdu Books and the Underworlds Series
4.6 Conclusion
5 HISTORY IS A MAP 2: Carnivals, Grotesquerie, and the Antic(que) Map Text
5.1 Gryllus the Pig and the Playful Attack on Borders
5.2 Spartapuss the Cat and the Repeating and Consuming of Time
5.3 Julius Zebra and Cognitive Connection through Words, Pictures, and Warthogs
5.4 The Dogs of Pompeii and Popular Culture's Alliance with the Past
5.5 Percy Jackson and the Apotheosis of the Comic Didactic
5.6 Conclusion
6 HISTORY IS FRACTAL: Patterns of Conflict in Contemporary Young Adult Fantasies
6.1 Despairing Didacticism: Learning and Misery in Red Shift
6.2 Separate Spheres and If Worlds: Culture Clash in the Fireball and Warriors Trilogies
6.3 Panem et Circenses: Countries, Cats, and Conflict in the Hunger Games Trilogy
6.4 Monsters and Masks: Trust and Treachery in the Ember in the Ashes Series
6.5 Secret Keepers: Manipulating Misprision in The Queen's Thief Sequence
6.6 Conclusion
7 Conclusion
Works Cited


Claudia Nelson has published widely on nineteenth- and twentieth-century British and American children's literature and family studies. Her book Little Strangers: Portrayals of Adoption and Foster Care in America, 1850-1929 (Indiana University Press, 2003) won the Children's Literature Association award for the best scholarly book in the field of children's studies. A professor of English at Texas A&M University, she is a former president of the Children's Literature Association and a former editor of the Children's Literature Association Quarterly.
Anne Morey is an associate professor of English at Texas A&M University. Her book Hollywood Outsiders: The Adaptation of the Film Industry, 1913-1934 (University of Minnesota Press, 2003) deals with Hollywood's critics and co-opters, and she has also edited a volume on Stephenie Meyer's Twilight phenomenon, Genre, Reception, and Adaptation in the 'Twilight' Series (Routledge, 2012). She is currently at work on a book about the Junior Literary Guild and children's reading from 1929-1955 and is co-writing a book with Shelley Stamp on women in American silent cinema.