Homepage Updates I

by Yussi Pick

This headline is an elegant understatement. Indeed, I updated the Texts part of my homepage. It’s not that I updated it, but what I updated it with. Long speech short sense (I love translating German idioms in English): I updated it with my thesis!!! It’s in German, but here’s the abstract. If you are able to read German and don’t have anything better to do: I’d be happy if you read (parts of) my thesis and tell me what you think.

Pick, Carl: Serial Narration in Children’s Literature. Thesis, Vienna, 2009.

In this thesis, I create a typology of children’s book series. I analyze series from four different countries: the Italian “Adventures of Pinocchio,” the Austrian “Die Knickerbocker-Bande,” the German “Die Wilden Fußballkerle” and the American “The Spiderwick Chronicles,” and consider specifically the areas of fabula-episode-relation, beginnings and endings, and the relationship of the author to his/her work and story/discourse time. The paper defines three major different types of children’s book series: “Serie”, which has both a contained episode and an overlapping fabula;. “Reihe”, which has only fabula contained within the episode; “Feuilletonroman”, which is best defined with the already established definition: „Every fabula that is published in a periodical publication“.
There exists a phenomenon in current children’s literature called the illusion of the real, especially in children’s books where the level of border crossing between reality and fiction reaches a new climax: In two of the four series analyzed, it’s not only the author who stages himself as a witness-narrator, but protagonists of later episodes who have read earlier ones. While series in other media create cliffhangers by breaking on the peak of suspense, the books analyzed here use the narrator to achieve tension at the end of an episode.

In general, I conclude that similarities prevail over differences in children’s book series. While the plot may vary, the formal frameworks are very strict and serve as a narrative guide for the young reader.