Sunday, February 11, 2007

N is for Neville Who Died of Ennui*

So, I am going to do my thesis on melancholy and childhood. That way I can include dolls, dollhouses, imaginary friends, death, Edward Gorey, childhood play, Gilead, The Sweet Hereafter, crossover books (picture books for young adults, books that teeter over from YA into adult fiction), Margaret Wild, magic, robots, butterflies... In fact so many things that I am realising I will have to further zero in because I have about 50 chapters worth of ideas. I guess some of the things I'm most interested in is the relationship between time, space and memory, and also whether or not melancholy transforms a book from a child's text into an adult text, because it somehow objectifies childhood and its child characters, rather than writing about kid characters in an immediate and engaging and present way (I'm thinking particularly of Sonya Hartnett's novel Of A Boy here, which is a book about a young boy and really the content isn't any more confronting that the content of her other novels which are marketed at children, but something transformed it into an adult book, apart form just the decisions of the publishers, and I'm wondering if that was her use of melancholy and nostalgia - distancing the reader from the immediate experience of the child character...thoughts are unfinished on this).

Anyway, thanks everyone for your suggestions because it really really helped. Hooray for talking to myself out loud and small voices inside my computer answering.

*(From Edward Gorey's book The Gashlycrumb Tinies)


  1. ooh Pen, lucky you, I'm v int'rested! Addicted to melanchooly (sorry) children's books. Most of Margaret Wild is in our bookshelf b/c I love them. Love to read what you write if you want to share when you're done. Lots of pinging in my head. I have so many melancholy moments remaining from childhood; from an early age I thought about dying and truth and wondered what was *real*, and the adults in my life didn't want to talk about that stuff... I think that's why books became so important, b/c they allowed the conversations that adults would not. They helped create my own reality map, which of course is still in progress, argh. Of course, this could be absolutely nothing to do with what you're thinking about, teehee ;)

  2. That sounds like an awesome thesis topic! Good luck narrowing it down - my brain is breaking just beginning to think about the implications!