• Alberte Bødker
4. term, History, Master (Master Programme)
The children’s book Winnie-the-Pooh was first published in 1926 by the British author A. A. Milne. Since then, the book and its sequels have been intertwined with many different fields of literature, both as a literary works and in a cinematic context, through the adaptations by The Walt Disney Company. However, it is strikingly absent in the field of literary criticism, since almost no academic work has been performed and published, about which underlying meaning the books may include.
The inquiry of this thesis consists of an examination of how the books about Winnie-the-Pooh have been used since the publication of the first book in 1926, specifically within the realm of literary criticism. Furthermore, it also investigates which historical development the usage of the books in academic work has reflected. This thesis is therefore a reception analysis of the books about Winnie- the-Pooh with a focus on a literary critical perspective.
In this thesis four source texts have been selected and studied as to represent the way in which the books about Winnie-the-Pooh have been used in literary criticism. The source material is com- posed of: the book The Pooh Perplex from 1964; the article Pathology in the Hundred Acre Wood: a neurodevelopmental perspective on A. A. Milne from 2000; the book Postmodern Pooh from 2001 and the article The Survival of a Woman: A Feminist Approach to Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner from 2015. The source material expresses a perspective of literary criticism, except for Pathology in the Hundred Acre Wood.
The theoretical basis for this thesis consists of two approaches to discourse theory and analysis. One being Norman Fairclough and his critical discourse analysis, including his three-dimensional model of critical discourse analysis. The other theoretical approach used in this thesis is that of Ern- esto Laclau and Chantal Mouffes theory of discourse.
This thesis also includes the work of Kenneth B. Kidd through the usage of the book Freud in Oz, at the Intersections of Psychoanalysis and Children’s Literature from 2011. Furthermore, re- search about the different strategies that consist within literary criticism will also be included, through the usage the chapter Oversigt over kritiske skoler by Ane M. K. Lønneker et al., from the anthology Litteratur: Introduktion til teori og analyse by Lasse H. Kjældgaard et al.
The analysis of this thesis uses the first level of Fairclough’s three-dimensional model in cor- relation with the chosen source material, as to examine the textual elements hereof. Furthermore, the source material is examined to determine which strategies within literary criticism they convey. This is followed by a discussion, in which the second and third levels of Fairclough’s three-dimensional model is used, as well as Laclau and Mouffes theory of discourse. The objective of this discussion is
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to determine the discursive and social practice of the source texts. Furthermore, the discussion seeks to establish which discourse the sources assign themselves to.
The conclusion of this thesis ultimately finds, on the basis of the stated theoretical approach, analysis and discussion, that the source texts all abide by Kidds Poohology discourse, if this discourse is reimagined to involve three or more individual discursive paths. The first of these consists of Kidds own text, which includes a psychoanalytical, but not literary critical, perspective towards the Winnie- the-Pooh books. The second path would be Literary Critical Poohology, which is the discourse both The Pooh Perplex, Postmodern Pooh and The Survival of a Woman follow. The third and last path, would be Medical Poohology, which is the discourse of Pathology in the Hundred Acre Wood, which consists of a neuro and developmental psychological perspective on the books about Winnie-the- Pooh. This conclusion, however, is made with the reservation, that discourses are never constant, and are always changing. Therefore, these results will only work within this paper with these specific sources. This thesis also finds that the sources, in almost unison, operate as reflections of their con- temporary time and the evolution of literary criticism.
LanguageDanish
Publication date15 Oct 2020
Number of pages61
ID: 349073363