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Not in Front of the Grown-Ups de Alison…
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Not in Front of the Grown-Ups (1990 original; edició 1991)

de Alison Lurie (Autor)

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336857,797 (3.68)7
Most of the enduring works of great children's literature are subversive in one way or another, maintains the author. In this book she looks at authors who have written with dangerous directness to the young.
Membre:Sarah_UK
Títol:Not in Front of the Grown-Ups
Autors:Alison Lurie (Autor)
Informació:Cardinal (1991), Edition: New Ed, 256 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Valoració:
Etiquetes:No n'hi ha cap

Detalls de l'obra

Don't Tell the Grown-Ups: The Subversive Power of Children's Literature de Alison Lurie (1990)

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» Mira també 7 mencions

Es mostren 1-5 de 8 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Lurie points out interesting ways of interpreting classics of children's literature, and illuminates some of the personalities behind famous books. For instance, I didn't know the author of Peter Pan was himself preternaturally young, possibly suffering from a condition that prevented him from completing puberty. Many of the most popular children's tales are subversive and flout tradition, rules and, most importantly, parental authority. ( )
  MaximusStripus | Jul 7, 2020 |
A little dated and a little dry (academic) but still interesting. Some of the essays speak about universality of the themes of children's stories, or the need of children for them; other essays focus on a particular author, usually emphasizing one work but mentioning the others. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
In the Introduction, Lurie explains her thesis that a lot of the most beloved characters in children’s literature are not the kind of role models most people would want their children to look up to. For example, Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn lie, cheat, steal, skip school, etc. In The Secret Garden, Mary and Colin spend the majority of their time trying to fool the adults around them about what they’re really doing. Harry Potter is too recent to have been included in this book, but he breaks rules repeatedly, convinces Hermione to let him copy her homework, etc. None of these are behaviors that we particularly want our children to emulate, yet well-behaved characters rarely make literary history.

This concept sounded extremely interesting to me, and I assumed that the rest of the chapters would focus on how individual authors wrote subversive characters and how they affected children and society. Unfortunately, Lurie did everything but that throughout the rest of the book. Her essays focused almost entirely on the biographical information of each author, the plots of one of their books, and unsupported suppositions about how the author’s life is represented in their books (i.e. this character is representative of the author’s overbearing father). Lurie is supposed to be a serious literary critic, but since her claims about how the authors’ lives were represented in their books didn’t cite any outside sources and very little textual evidence, I had trouble taking her seriously. The book simply didn’t contain any useful information after the introduction, and I suspect it contained some downright wrong information.

Another problem was that more than half of the book was spent discussing adult literature (like Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Shardik by Richard Adams, The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, and The Once and Future King by T.H. White). In addition, she only had four chapters on well-known children’s authors (Beatrix Potter, James Barrie, Frances Hodgson Burnett, and A.A. Milne). The other children’s authors she writes about, while they may be historically important to the genre, were not well-known enough to be included in a book this short (just over 200 pages). There were just so many other, better authors she could have included (Beverly Cleary, Judy Bloom, Ronald Dahl, and Gertrude Chandler Warner are a few who come to mind).

Basically, it looked like Lurie took a bunch of essays that she had written earlier (and many of the chapters in this book had been published as individual essays elsewhere) and wrote an introduction to try to link them together, regardless of whether they actually work together under the theme she chose or not. I think this is the first time I’ve ever felt disgusted with a book. The only reasons I gave it two stars instead of one is that the introduction presented a great concept and that there weren’t actual (verifiable) mistakes in the book. ( )
  AmandaL. | Jan 16, 2016 |
This book has been on my "Find and Read" list for ages with nary a sniff of it appearing. I began to wonder if it actually existed at all but then trippped over it at Wellesley Booksmith and grabbed it up. However, it was not what I expected at all. I still found it interesting but I expected to learn more about children's literature in general and less about specific authors and also why adults would read it. Perhaps I just don't know what literary criticism is.
  amyem58 | Jul 3, 2014 |
Alison Lurie's collection of essays is entertaining and at times thought-provoking, but mostly her analyses were too Freudian for me. And inconsistent: she says death was absent from children's literature until the 20th century. In context, it's possible she meant absent in the first half of that century, but she's not clear and says this just after mentioning Little Women. People die left and right in Louisa May Alcott, Frances Hodgson Burnett, L.M. Montgomery, and Elizabeth Enright, and even Nancy Drew's mother is dead. Granted, most of the deaths happen off the page, at the very beginning to establish the setting, or to background characters you've never met -- like the Melendys' mother and Nancy's. Beth is an exception, but a glaringly contradictory one.

After, say, 1960, the morbidity rate for mothers rises sharply. A friend of mine lamented the dead mothers in contemporary books for her daughter, and she's right: many Newbery medalists including Voigt and Creech, lots of Joan Aiken, the Penderwicks, the Traveling Pants series, and Harry Potter of course. Probably because all the girl protagonists have Electra complexes.

More about authors than power to the pipsqueaks, but okay. ( )
  ljhliesl | May 21, 2013 |
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Most of the enduring works of great children's literature are subversive in one way or another, maintains the author. In this book she looks at authors who have written with dangerous directness to the young.

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