Sara Van Den Bossche
Story lines and characters from Swedish author Astrid Lindgren’s oeuvre – and from her books on Pippi Longstocking in particular – have permeated Swedish cultural life and society. Her legacy is kept alive and has become transcendental and pervasive. In addition, Pippi even crossed national borders and gained international popularity and acclaim. Observations on the ubiquity of Lindgren’s works lead to the question how an author or work acquires status in the first place: How do they gain recognition? How and why is value attached to the writer’s oeuvre? By what terms can one judge the author’s importance? Starting from these questions, in this workshop, we investigate what the parameters of canonisation are, viz., what criteria need to be imposed (un)knowingly on an author or a work for them to be considered canonical (see Stevenson 2009; Van den Bossche 2017). The reception of Astrid Lindgren’s works in the field of children’s literature in Flanders and The Netherlands serves as a case in point to illustrate how canonisation processes operate. We use findings from this case, regarding a discernible evolution in the representation of Lindgren’s oeuvre and the underlying norms of evaluation (Van den Bossche 2017), as a blueprint for our workshop on Pippi Longstocking’s international reception.
Required advance reading
Stevenson, Deborah, “Classics and Canons”, in: The Cambridge Companion to Children’s Literature, M.O. Grenby & Andrea Immel (eds), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009, pp. 108-123. (blackboard)
Van den Bossche, Sara, “The Perks of Being Talked About: Norms of Evaluation in the Canonization of Astrid Lindgren’s Oeuvre in the Dutch Language Area”, in: Canon Constitution and Canon Change in Children’s Literature (Children's Literature and Culture), Bettina Kümmerling-Meibauer & Anja Müller (eds.), New York/London: Routledge, 2017, pp. 175-188. (blackboard)
Preparatory task for all students
In order to study the reception and canonisation of Pippi Longstocking in your country or language area, collect between 5 and 10 articles or reviews about Pippi Longstocking (in any shape or form). You can use as sources either daily newspapers, academic journals, literary journals, bibliographical journals, works of literary history, blogs, or reviewing websites.
Written assignment for students taking credits
Study the reception and canonisation of Pippi Longstocking in your country or language area. First, based on Stevenson (2009) and Van den Bossche (2017), draw up a checklist of criteria for canonisation. Then, apply these criteria to the 5-10 articles on Pippi Longstocking that you collected in preparation for our workshop. What requirements are actualised in the articles you studied? What does this tell you about the canonical status of Pippi Longstocking in your country or language area?
Deadline: 1 August 2020. Submit via email to email@example.com