steepholm (steepholm) wrote,

Whingerama - but with a twist

In their second year our students get the chance to do a year’s exchange with a university in the US. I was recently sent the list of courses they are able to take when they’re there. There are 38 of them, slicing up various taxonomies: the big authors (Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton), the periods (British Literature of the Romantic Era, Victorian Poetry, Modern Drama), the provenances (African Literature, Caribbean Literature), the genres (Nature Writing, Introduction to Folklore), the theories (Feminist Literary Criticism, Lesbian Texts/Queer Theories) and the crossovers (Fiction into Film).

Isn’t it strange that, of all the 38 courses being offered to exchange students, one and one only carries the admonitory rider: “May not be used to satisfy the literature requirement of the College of Humanities and Sciences.”

Why, children’s literature of course!

In the sour mood engendered by this, I listened to Midweek this morning and heard (at least partly) Prokofiev’s grandson talking about Peter and the Wolf. Spoiling for a fight, I heard him say:

“Because it was for children he just didn’t analyze or think about what he was doing too much, he just let the music come out, and that’s maybe the secret of its power.”

Of course, this is deeply patronizing to people who write (music, books, whatever) for children, effectively reducing them to children themselves – people who succeed by being unaware and not thinking. And, by extension, this is pretty insulting to children too.

All the same, I wonder if it might not be true, at least for some people, that the consciousness of a child audience allows them to loosen up, much as a glass or two of red wine, or a shot of whisky, might for others?
Tags: books, work
  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded