Retelling Stories, Framing Culture

Traditional Story and Metanarratives in Children's Literature

By John Stephens, Robyn McCallum

© 1998 – Routledge

328 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415836142
pub: 2013-04-02
US Dollars$43.95
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Hardback: 9780815312987
pub: 1998-03-31
US Dollars$187.00
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e–Inspection Copy

About the Book

What happens to traditional stories when they are retold in another time and cultural context and for a different audience? This first-of-its-kind study discusses Bible stories, classical myths, heroic legends, Arthurian romances, Robin Hood lore, folk tales, 'oriental' tales, and other stories derived from European cultures. One chapter is devoted to various retellings of classics, from Shakespeare to "Wind in the Willows."

The authors offer a general theory of what motivates the retelling of stories, and how stories express the aspirations of a society. An important function of stories is to introduce children to a cultural heritage, and to transmit a body of shared allusions and experiences that expresses a society's central values and assumptions. However, the cultural heritage may be modified through a pervasive tendency of retellings to produce socially conservative outcomes because of ethnocentric, androcentric and class-based assumptions in the source stories that persist into retellings. Therefore, some stories, such as classical myths, are particularly resistant to feminist reinterpretations, for example, while other types, such as folktales, are more malleable. In examining such possibilities, the book evaluates the processes of interpretation apparent in retellings. Index included.

About the Series

Children's Literature and Culture

Founded by Jack Zipes in 1994, Children's Literature and Culture is the longest-running series devoted to the study of children’s literature and culture from a national and international perspective. Dedicated to promoting original research in children’s literature and children’s culture, in 2011 the series expanded its focus to include childhood studies, and it seeks to explore the legal, historical, and philosophical conditions of different childhoods. An advocate for scholarship from around the globe, the series recognizes innovation and encourages interdisciplinarity. Children's Literature and Culture offers cutting-edge, upper-level scholarly studies and edited collections considering topics such as gender, race, picturebooks, childhood, nation, religion, technology, and many others. Titles are characterized by dynamic interventions into established subjects and innovative studies on emerging topics.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LIT000000
LITERARY CRITICISM / General