Genre, gender and nation: ideological and intertextual representation in contemporary Arthurian fiction for children
AuthorsCook, Adele M.
Q323 English Literature by topic
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractWithin late twentieth and early twenty-first century children’s literature there is a significant interest amongst authors and readers for material which recreates the Arthurian myth. Many of these draw on medieval texts, and the canonical texts of the English tradition have been particularly influential. Yet within this intertextual discourse the influence of the Victorian works is noticeable. This thesis explores the relationship between contemporary children’s Arthuriana and the gendered and national ideologies of these earlier works. Using feminist critical discourse analysis, it discusses the evolution of Arthuriana for the child reader, with a particular focus on four contemporary texts: Michael Morpurgo’s (1994) Arthur, High King of Britain, Mary Hoffman’s (2000) Women of Camelot: Queens and Enchantresses at the Court of King Arthur, Diana Wynne Jones’ (1993) Hexwood and the BBC series Merlin (2008-2012). Exploring the historicist and fantasy genres opens up a discourse surrounding the psychology of myth which within the context of Arthurian literature creates a sense of a universal ‘truth’. This work reveals that authorial intent, in both historicist and fantasy narratives, is often undercut by implicit ideologies which reveal unconscious cultural assumptions. The cultural context at the time of textual production and consumption affects the representations of both the ideologies of gender and nation and yet the authority of myth and history combine to create a regressive depiction more in keeping with literature from the Victorian and post-World War II eras. This is explored through a review of the literature for children available since the Age of Reason, and the didactic model which has been prevalent throughout the Arthurian genre. This thesis explores why a regressive representation is appealing within a twenty-first century discourse through an engagement with theories of feminism(s) and postfeminism. This thesis ascertains why the psychology of myth affects the reimagining of Arthuriana, and explores the retrospective nature of intertextuality in order to reflect on the trend for regressive representations in children’s Arthurian literature.
CitationCook, A.M. (2014) 'Genre, Gender and Nation: Ideological and Intertextual Representation in Contemporary Arthurian Fiction for Children'. PhD Thesis. University of Bedfordshire.
PublisherUniversity of Bedfordshire
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted to the University of Bedfordshire in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
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