This article investigates the recurring patterns in narration and visual aesthetics with which the Shoah is commemorated in children's literature. On the one hand, the essay undertakes an intercultural comparison of the differing iconographic, narrative and commemorative structures found in the varying contexts of publication, i.e. in Germany, other European countries and the United States. On the other hand, the author analyses the heterogeneous figurations and experiences of childhood on three levels of textuality: the representation of children living in the Third Reich, the intergenerational communication taking place between the narrator - often of the grandparents' generation - and the reader, and the construction of implied child readers of the picture books today.
An Intercultural Comparison
Mary Ellen Lamb
Included in a work revealingly titled Terrors of the Night, Nashe’s reminiscence from childhood reveals the extent to which he had become a full communicant in the superstitious mysteries shared by the old women of his childhood. As Adam Fox has noted for this and other passages, ‘At the juvenile level… the repertoire of unlearned village women coincided for a brief but significant period with that of the educated male elite’. As Nashe’s evocative title suggests, however, these repertoires did more than coincide. The ‘witchcrafts’ that Nashe valued enough as a boy to learn by rote not only lost their usefulness: they became objects of contempt. The more common use of the phrase ‘old wives’ tales’ to refer to the lore of unlearned women conveys a similar sense of stigma. In this essay, I discuss various texts, finally focussing on Peele’s Old Wives Tale, to explore the implications of this shared repertoire within the wider context of a culture whose antagonism to illiterate old women participated in ideologies deeply formative to early moderns and their literatures.
The Early Poems of Elizabeth Bishop
Wallace Stevens, in The Necessary Angel, gave it as his opinion that the purpose of poetry is to help people live their lives. Those of us who have made a study of Elizabeth Bishop’s poems would agree, I think, that they have helped a great many people live their lives. Yet, as David Kalstone remarked, Elizabeth Bishop has always been difficult to ‘place’. She found self-placement, both geographical and psychological, so difficult herself that we find two questions buried in most of her work: ‘Who I am?’ and ‘Where do I belong?’. I would like to suggest in this essay that Bishop did finally decide who she was and where she belonged. Like her own Prodigal, she made up her mind reluctantly, both before and after she went to live in Brazil, to go home to Nova Scotia. She could not live there, of course, since Nova Scotia was the landscape of the childhood that nourished her imagination; nor was that childhood an easy one to return to. But she knew she belonged in Great Village once she began to help herself to live her life by writing about it.
From Teaching to Competing
This article analyzes the changes in drama series in the first five decades (1966–2016) of Israeli children’s television. Based on interviews with 27 central producers, this cultural-historical study seeks to explain the significance attributed to children’s drama over the years. Early children’s drama series in Israel were instructional or educational, but they also sought to control the representation of childhood under the direct supervision of the state. The neo-liberal privatization process in Israeli society led to the creation of locally produced, Hebrew-speaking daily dramas on private channels for children. In the multiscreen environment created by the age of multichannel television and digital media, original Israeli daily drama shows functioned as a central branding tool for children’s channels. The article contends that these shows became one of the producers’ key answers to the changes in children’s viewing habits and, more particularly, linear television’s strategy for success in a world of multiple online screens.
Dafna Lemish and Shiri Reznik
This study explores gender differences in the roles of humor in the lives of Israeli children. Thirty-four Jewish middle-class Israeli children, sixteen girls and eighteen boys, aged between eight to ten years, were interviewed in focus groups in which they discussed a variety of humorous video segments, jokes, and everyday humor. The analysis suggests that humor in interaction is a highly gendered process in this age group and is employed differently by boys and girls to perform their gendered identities. Girls engaged much less in sexist and aggressive humor and clearly used it to maintain their separateness from boys and younger children. We conclude that humor provides us with another avenue through which to unveil the complicated processes of gender construction in pre-adolescent childhood, while demonstrating at the same time the ambivalence and complexity involved in these processes.
Demythologizing Girlhood in Kate Bernheimer’s Trilogy
In this article I position the metaphor of the hope chest at the heart of a trilogy of fairy tale novels, The Complete Tales of Ketzia (2001), The Complete Tales of Merry (2006a) and The Complete Tales of Lucy Gold (2011), by Kate Bernheimer that explore traditions of American girlhood. Deploying psychoanalytic interpretative readings, I investigate the characterization of each of the three sisters. My use of the hope chest (as both a toy and a cultural repository) enables me to offer a fuller picture of the social transition depicted in these novels from childhood into womanhood, and is thus conflated with the idea of the child-woman— a hinge-like cultural figure whom Bernheimer represents metaphorically through boxes of accoutrements containing memories and prophecies. With reference to unpublished interviews with Bernheimer, I support my interpretative reading of her trilogy by invoking and explaining the relevance of literary theories related to caskets.
Queer Youth Cinema Reclaims Pop Culture
Fairy Tales Film Festival 2018, Calgary Queer Arts Society, Youth Queer Media Program
For the study of youth in cinema, we, as scholars, must always remind ourselves that most images we analyze are created by adults representing youth, not by youth representing themselves. As such, they represent an idea of youth—a memory, a trauma, a wish. They are stories these adults tell themselves about what they need youth to be in that moment. Coming out becomes the singular narrative of queer youth, and positions adulthood as a safe and stable destination after escaping the traumatic space of adolescence. The stories in these films provide important moments for adult queers to “feel backward” (2009: 7) as Heather Love says, and to process the pain of a queer childhood. And for young people exploring their sexuality, these stories are essential for at-risk youth who feel hopeless, trapped, or alone.
Ann Miller and Kaveri Gopalakrishnan
In this interview, Kaveri Gopalakrishnan discusses childhood reading, formative influences and how her training in animation has impacted on her visual language as a comics artist. She describes the pleasures of collaborative work, but also gives a sense of the solitude necessarily involved in comics creation, and shares her insights into the artistic and technical challenges involved in conveying emotion and sensory experience. The theme of gender runs through the interview, both in relation to the models that she encountered as a child in Indian and American comics, and to her own satirical take on the rules of female decorum imposed upon Indian schoolgirls. Kaveri reflects on her choice of Instagram posts as a way of publishing a certain type of personal comic, and on the very different demands of producing illustrations for educational books. The current projects that she sets out at the end of the interview demonstrate the breadth and ambition of her work.
Jonathan Caouette and Laurence Hegarty
Jonathan Caouette suggested that we meet at a coffee shop opposite the American Museum of the Moving Image in New York. For someone who is said to have invented a genre of cinema by trawling through his own twenty-year archive of home-movies, sound-tapes, and sundry snippets of memorabilia, it seemed like a good choice. From watching Tarnation one senses Caouette is as much a curator of collections as he is a film director. Tarnation tracks the developmental struggle of the young Caouette, especially as he tries to understand and orient himself to his mentally disturbed mother. Although the final cut does not necessarily represent the final word (there is a great deal more footage than was used in the release print) or a single voice, it does stand as an adult attempt to collate, and edit, the whole chaotic mess of his childhood experience.
What facilitates the psychic process of grieving a traumatic loss, and what happens when that process is blocked? Forbidden Games is, on one level, an intimate film about childhood trauma. When viewed from a psychoanalytic perspective informed by concepts such as introjection and pathological mourning, however, it emerges as a complex allegory that reflects, through its narrative and filmic elements, on the sociocultural and historical dynamics of France's troubled response to the loss of its identity as a democracy during World War II. The film also reflects on the even more shameful history of the rise of French anti-Semitism under the Vichy regime and France's history of silencing or repressing the drama of its willing collaboration with the Nazis' Final Solution. Private trauma thus screens public, political trauma as Clément's film becomes both a medium for sociocultural commentary and a memorial to loss that could not be buried or mourned.