Fuse #8

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Primo academia

So I'm reading through my most recent issue of "Bookbird" (the Journal of International Children's Literature, doncha know) and I'm not particularly interested in anything I see until I come to an article by one Peter Hunt. Mr. Hunt is apparently a professor of children's literature at Cardiff University in the UK. All well and good. I've always felt that the idiom, "Those who can't, teach" applies to those professors of children's literature that never come in direct contact with the kiddies who's books they critique. Ah well. In any case he's written an article called, "The Emperor's New Clothes: Higher Education, Conferences and the Real World". I'd link you to it but I'm too lazy to figure out how and you'd probably need a subscription to read it anyway. Go to you local library and request that they purchase the journal instead. Anyway, where was I? Ah, yes. His article. The whole thing is about the innate silliness that comes from national conferences of children's literature "experts". That is fun to read about (I've never been to one so I'm taking everything he says on faith) but even more enjoyable is his section on published papers. Mr. Hunt says, "Even if we must publish, must we publish in dialect?". Now I like a good article in "Children's Literature Association Quarterly" as much as the next fella, but Hunt has a point here. I've often wondered why some writers feel their thoughts are only valid if the words they use are completely unpenetrable by your average joe. Mr. Hunt quotes some beauties that say things along the lines of, "mediates the character through the locus of control that is the text", and "provides a ludic space for readers to escape their matieral positions".

So hats off to Mr. Hunt. I'll be Googling him pronto in the hopes of reading more enjoyable articles of the "Bookbird" stripe.

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