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Title: Aspects of myth and folklore in children's fiction : with particular reference to contemporary writers.
Author: Philip, Alistair.
Awarding Body: Royal Holloway, University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 1979
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This thesis is an attempt to assess the use made of myth and folklore by children's writers, and consequently to approach a definition of myth, of children's literature and of the relationship between the two. Concentrating on twentieth century writers, and on the myths and folklore of Britain, it examines the various re-tellings of the legends of Robin Hood (including the versions of Pierce Egan the Younger, Howard Pyle, Henry Gilbert, Carola Oman, and Rosemary Sutcliff, and the socialist interpretation of Geoffrey Trease); fiction which draws on or re-tells the Matter of Britain (concentrating on the writings of T. H. White, Susan Cooper and Penelope Farmer); the work of the most important of contemporary myth-based children's novelists, Alan Garner; and the mythopoeic fantasies of J. R. R. Tolkien and his followers, including C. S. Lewis and Ursula le Guin. As far as possible space has been restricted to writers of genuine literary ability. Since the critic is not a child, questions of literary merit or achievement have been approached with the same rigour and the same standards as apply to literature for adults. No attempt is made to make all the writers or works considered conform to any narrow pattern, but the tentative conclusion is drawn that for children's writers the function of myth is often to explore the problem of time, and that in the contradiction between mythological (cyclical) and historical (sequential) time children's authors have found both a form of narrative in which abstract concepts can be expressed concretely, in action rather than in reflection or analysis, and a metaphor for the child's progress into adulthood.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available