Tomboys: A Literary and Cultural History

Temple University Press
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Starting with the figure of the bold, boisterous girl in the mid-19th century and ending with the “girl power” movement of the 1990’s, Tomboys is the first full-length critical study of this gender-bending code of female conduct. Michelle Abate uncovers the origins, charts the trajectory, and traces the literary and cultural transformations that the concept of “tomboy” has undergone in the United States. 

Abate focuses on literature including Louisa May Alcott's Little Women and Carson McCullers's The Member of the Wedding and films such as Peter Bogdanovich's Paper Moon and Jon Avnet's Fried Green Tomatoes. She also draws onlesser-known texts like E.D.E.N. Southworth's once wildly popular 1859 novel The Hidden Hand, Cold War lesbian pulp fiction, and New Queer Cinema from the 1990s.

Tomboys also explores the gender and sexual dynamics of tomboyism, and offers intriguing discussions of race and ethnicity's role in the construction of the enduring cultural archetype. Abate’s insightful analysis provides useful, thought-provoking connections between different literary works and eras. The result demystifies this cultural phenomenon and challenges readers to consider tomboys in a whole new light.

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About the author

Michelle Ann Abate is an Assistant Professor of English at Hollins University.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Temple University Press
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Published on
Jun 28, 2008
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Pages
328
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ISBN
9781592137244
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Language
English
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Genres
Literary Criticism / American / General
Literary Criticism / General
Literary Criticism / Subjects & Themes / General
Literary Criticism / Subjects & Themes / Women
Performing Arts / Film & Video / History & Criticism
Performing Arts / Film / History & Criticism
Social Science / Gender Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Michelle Ann Abate
This book is the first full-length critical study to explore the rapidly growing cadre of amateur-authored, independently-published, and niche-market picture books that have been released during the opening decades of the twenty-first century. Emerging from a powerful combination of the ease and affordability of desktop publishing software; the promotional, marketing, and distribution possibilities allowed by the Internet; and the tremendous national divisiveness over contentious socio-political issues, these texts embody a shift in how narratives for young people are being creatively conceived, materially constructed, and socially consumed in the United States. Abate explores how titles such as My Parents Open Carry (about gun laws), It’s Just a Plant (about marijuana policy), and My Beautiful Mommy (about the plastic surgery industry) occupy important battle stations in ongoing partisan conflicts, while they are simultaneously changing the landscape of American children’s literature. The book demonstrates how texts like Little Zizi and Me Tarzan, You Jane mark the advent of not simply a new commercial strategy in texts for young readers; they embody a paradigm shift in the way that narratives are being conceived, constructed, and consumed. Niche market picture books can be seen as a telling barometer about public perceptions concerning children and the social construction of childhood, as well as the function of narratives for young readers in the twenty-first century. At the same time, these texts reveal compelling new insights about the complex interaction among American print culture, children’s reading practices, and consumer capitalism. Amateur-authored, self-published, and specialty-subject titles reveal the way in which children, childhood, and children’s literature are both highly political and heavily politicized in the United States. The book will be of interest to scholars and students in the fields of American Studies, children’s literature, childhood studies, popular culture, political science, microeconomics, psychology, advertising, book history, education, and gender studies.
Annette Wannamaker
William Anderson
Available for the first time and collected in one volume, the letters of one of America’s most beloved authors, Laura Ingalls Wilder—a treasure trove that offers new and unexpected understanding of her life and work.

The Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder is a vibrant, deeply personal portrait of this revered American author, illuminating her thoughts, travels, philosophies, writing career, and dealings with family, friends, and fans as never before.

This is a fresh look at the adult life of the author in her own words. Gathered from museums and archives and personal collections, the letters span over sixty years of Wilder’s life, from 1894–1956 and shed new light on Wilder’s day-to-day life. Here we see her as a businesswoman and author—including her beloved Little House books, her legendary editor, Ursula Nordstrom, and her readers—as a wife, and as a friend. In her letters, Wilder shares her philosophies, political opinions, and reminiscences of life as a frontier child. Also included are letters to her daughter, writer Rose Wilder Lane, who filled a silent role as editor and collaborator while the famous Little House books were being written.

Wilder biographer William Anderson collected and researched references throughout these letters and the result is an invaluable historical collection, tracing Wilder’s life through the final days of covered wagon travel, her life as a farm woman, a country journalist, Depression-era author, and years of fame as the writer of the Little House books. This collection is a sequel to her beloved books, and a snapshot into twentieth-century living.

Michelle Ann Abate
With contributions by:

Eti Berland, Rebecca A. Brown, Christiane Buuck, Joanna C. Davis-McElligatt, Rachel Dean-Ruzicka, Karly Marie Grice, Mary Beth Hines, Krystal Howard, Aaron Kashtan, Michael L. Kersulov, Catherine Kyle, David E. Low, Anuja Madan, Meghann Meeusen, Rachel L. Rickard Rebellino, Rebecca Rupert, Cathy Ryan, Joe Sutliff Sanders, Joseph Michael Sommers, Marni Stanley, Gwen Athene Tarbox, Sarah Thaller, Annette Wannamaker, and Lance Weldy

One of the most significant transformations in literature for children and young adults during the last twenty years has been the resurgence of comics. Educators and librarians extol the benefits of comics reading, and increasingly, children's and YA comics and comics hybrids have won major prizes, including the Printz Award and the National Book Award. Despite the popularity and influence of children's and YA graphic novels, the genre has not received adequate scholarly attention.

Graphic Novels for Children and Young Adults is the first book to offer a critical examination of children's and YA comics. The anthology is divided into five sections, structure and narration; transmedia; pedagogy; gender and sexuality; and identity, that reflect crucial issues and recurring topics in comics scholarship during the twenty-first century. The contributors are likewise drawn from a diverse array of disciplines--English, education, library science, and fine arts. Collectively, they analyze a variety of contemporary comics, including such highly popular series as Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Lumberjanes; Eisner award-winning graphic novels by Gene Luen Yang, Nate Powell, Mariko Tamaki, and Jillian Tamaki; as well as volumes frequently challenged for use in secondary classrooms, such as Raina Telgemeier's Drama and Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.

Michelle Ann Abate
With contributions by:

Eti Berland, Rebecca A. Brown, Christiane Buuck, Joanna C. Davis-McElligatt, Rachel Dean-Ruzicka, Karly Marie Grice, Mary Beth Hines, Krystal Howard, Aaron Kashtan, Michael L. Kersulov, Catherine Kyle, David E. Low, Anuja Madan, Meghann Meeusen, Rachel L. Rickard Rebellino, Rebecca Rupert, Cathy Ryan, Joe Sutliff Sanders, Joseph Michael Sommers, Marni Stanley, Gwen Athene Tarbox, Sarah Thaller, Annette Wannamaker, and Lance Weldy

One of the most significant transformations in literature for children and young adults during the last twenty years has been the resurgence of comics. Educators and librarians extol the benefits of comics reading, and increasingly, children's and YA comics and comics hybrids have won major prizes, including the Printz Award and the National Book Award. Despite the popularity and influence of children's and YA graphic novels, the genre has not received adequate scholarly attention.

Graphic Novels for Children and Young Adults is the first book to offer a critical examination of children's and YA comics. The anthology is divided into five sections, structure and narration; transmedia; pedagogy; gender and sexuality; and identity, that reflect crucial issues and recurring topics in comics scholarship during the twenty-first century. The contributors are likewise drawn from a diverse array of disciplines--English, education, library science, and fine arts. Collectively, they analyze a variety of contemporary comics, including such highly popular series as Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Lumberjanes; Eisner award-winning graphic novels by Gene Luen Yang, Nate Powell, Mariko Tamaki, and Jillian Tamaki; as well as volumes frequently challenged for use in secondary classrooms, such as Raina Telgemeier's Drama and Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.

Michelle Ann Abate
This book is the first full-length critical study to explore the rapidly growing cadre of amateur-authored, independently-published, and niche-market picture books that have been released during the opening decades of the twenty-first century. Emerging from a powerful combination of the ease and affordability of desktop publishing software; the promotional, marketing, and distribution possibilities allowed by the Internet; and the tremendous national divisiveness over contentious socio-political issues, these texts embody a shift in how narratives for young people are being creatively conceived, materially constructed, and socially consumed in the United States. Abate explores how titles such as My Parents Open Carry (about gun laws), It’s Just a Plant (about marijuana policy), and My Beautiful Mommy (about the plastic surgery industry) occupy important battle stations in ongoing partisan conflicts, while they are simultaneously changing the landscape of American children’s literature. The book demonstrates how texts like Little Zizi and Me Tarzan, You Jane mark the advent of not simply a new commercial strategy in texts for young readers; they embody a paradigm shift in the way that narratives are being conceived, constructed, and consumed. Niche market picture books can be seen as a telling barometer about public perceptions concerning children and the social construction of childhood, as well as the function of narratives for young readers in the twenty-first century. At the same time, these texts reveal compelling new insights about the complex interaction among American print culture, children’s reading practices, and consumer capitalism. Amateur-authored, self-published, and specialty-subject titles reveal the way in which children, childhood, and children’s literature are both highly political and heavily politicized in the United States. The book will be of interest to scholars and students in the fields of American Studies, children’s literature, childhood studies, popular culture, political science, microeconomics, psychology, advertising, book history, education, and gender studies.
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