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童年論述經典研讀會. 童年、自然與文化 98 年 3 月 30 日 報告:楊麗中. Roni Natov Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. The Poetics of Childhood Routledge; 1st edition (2002 ). the poetics of childhood . I personal experience  common experience II scope of poetics of childhood. Outline.

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童年論述經典研讀會

童年、自然與文化

98年 3月 30日

報告:楊麗中


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Roni Natov

Brooklyn College of the City University of New York

The Poetics of Childhood

Routledge; 1st edition (2002 )


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the poetics of childhood

I personal experience

 common experience

II scope of poetics of childhood


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Outline

  • Chapter 1 Constructions of Innocence

  • Chapter 2 Carroll and Grahame:

    Two Versions of Pastoral


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William Blake (1757-1827)


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William Blake

1. “Without Contraries is no progression.”

2. Children Lost and Found

3. “To See a World in a Grain of Sand”


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1 “Without Contraries is no progression.”


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Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience (1793-1818) 1

1 Innocence is a fragile state, and only in art can it be captured metaphorically in moments.

2 Higher innocence can be glimpsed in visions. It takes shapes in the real world, and mostly in the figure of the child.


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3 two types of innocents

3.1 those who feel “unself-consciously untied with the world”

Infant Joy

"I have no name;I am but two days old."What shall I call thee?"I happy am,Joy is my name."Sweet joy befall thee!


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two types of innocents

3.2 those who “unself-consciously prolong” that state

“The Little Black Boy

“The Chimney Sweeper”


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Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience (1793-1818) 2

4 The central concern of the two Songs seems not so much Innocence or Experience, “but the borderline between them” (11)


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Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience (1793-1818) 3

5 Blake’s visions of Innocence are representations of the unity of past and future, and of the connection between all things—the worldly glimpsed in visions of the heavenly, and vice versa.

“The Divine Image”


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Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience (1793-1818) 4

1 Experience was the fallen world.

The child became the creature furthest and freest from the fallen world, but within the child, Innocence battles with Experience toward some vision of release from its shackles.


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2. Children Lost and Found


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the primal fear of children

“The Little Boy Found”

“The Little Boy Lost”


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a young girl’s vulnerability

“The Little Girl Found”

“The Little Girl Lost”


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Acceptance of desire is essential to the state of higher Innocence.

“A Little Boy Lost”

“A Little Girl Lost”


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3 “To see a World in a Grain of Sand”


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Blake’s holistic vision

1 sense of the unity of all things

2 He saw the many in the one, which represented the potential for higher Innocence in every element and every living thing.


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frontipiece of Songs of Experience

frontipiece of Songs of Innocence


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To see a World in a Grain of Sand 在一粒細沙中看到世界And a Heaven in a Wild Flower, 在一朵野花中看到天堂,Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand 在手掌中把握無限And Eternity in an hour. 在一小時中把握永恆。“Auguries of Innocence”


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On Another’s Sorrow


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1 The Natural Child

2 The Longing for Childhood

3 The Search for Consciousness

William Wordsworth (1770 – 1850)


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Wordsworth and childhood

  • Childhood was the great source of inspiration.

  • He connects the consciousness of childhood with the consciousness of the poet.

  • We need to draw upon our childhood memories.


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The Natural Child

  • “We are Seven” (22-23)

  • “Anecdote for Fathers” (23-24)

  • “The Idiot Boy” (24-26)


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The Longing for Childhood

Though nothing can bring back the hour Of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower; We will grieve not, rather find Strength in what remains behind.


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The Search for Consciousness

Central to this process is recollection, reflection, and meaning of the “spots of time” which point to “how,/The mind is lord and master—outward sense/The obedient servant of her will” (XII, ll 222-3).


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The Child Poet

Opal Whiteley (1897-1992)


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The Diary of Opal Whitley

Opal Whiteley was the spiritual child of Blake and Wordsworth, attuned to the natural world and to her own nature.


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The Diary of Opal Whitley

  • deep connection to the natural world around her and her keen powers of observation

  • ability to move from observation to reflection and to capture both in kind of epiphany

  • sense of responsibility to the things and creatures she loves


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To what extent is the literature of childhood related to the literary pastoral?


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pastoral and the green world

1 children’s sense of freedom

2 a retreat from the social world or injustices

3 a nostalgia for the past

2, 3  loss, and longing for a return to an earlier state, real or imagined; a critique of civilization (91)


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the child and the green world

the child serves as the green world

(a figure of escape and possibility, a guide that leads us into the garden, a figure that engages in a quest) (92)


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the movement associated with pastoral

forms of movement

( a retreat from and a return to the world, the retreat as a place of resolution itself; the retreat has occurred before the story opens) (91)


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two trajectories

  • Blake and Wordsworth as early paradigms

  • versions of pastoral


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“Blake’s ironic use of the child’s voice in his lyrics is echoed in Carroll’s satiric mode. And Grahame was influenced by Wordsworth’s association of childhood with the pastoral imagery of nature and as the source of inspiration for creativity. (49)


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Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (1832 –1898)


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Carroll’s Alice books

  • Carroll’s nostalgia

  • nonsense humor

  • unnatural landscape

  • Alice as “the disrupter of the Edenic myth of Victorian morality” (50)

  • critiques of Victorian culture


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“The predominant irony of Carroll’s work is close to Blake’s, when the child, in its innocence, speaks against itself, and takes the side of the very world that will expel it from what it envisions as paradise.” (55)


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Kenneth Grahame (1859 –1932)

Cover of the first edition


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“While Wind, like Alice stories, is propelled by what’s not resolvable in adulthood, here what remains haunting from childhood memory is grated respite in the liminal borders of childhood and its accompanying states of dream and trance.” (57)


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