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Topologies of the Classical World in Children's FictionPalimpsests, Maps, and Fractals$
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Claudia Nelson and Anne Morey

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198846031

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198846031.001.0001

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History is a Palimpsest 2

History is a Palimpsest 2

Time Zones, Scars, and Family in (Mostly) Realistic Works

(p.55) 3 History is a Palimpsest 2
Topologies of the Classical World in Children's Fiction

Claudia Nelson

Anne Morey

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores a further set of palimpsestic texts, E. Nesbit’s fantasy The Enchanted Castle (1907) and five historical novels: Caroline Dale Snedeker’s Theras and His Town (1924), The Forgotten Daughter (1933), and The White Isle (1940); Elizabeth George Speare’s The Bronze Bow (1961); and Rosemary Sutcliff’s The Eagle of the Ninth (1954). It is argued that these texts emphasize family as a mechanism for representing both disparate experiences between parents and children and continuity over time, in keeping with the topological resources of the palimpsest figure. Palimpsestic texts are fundamentally about a maturing or an aging that the child has not yet experienced, and that maturation is sometimes represented as a kind of inevitable damage or loss to both place and person. Indeed, a dominant facet of this set of palimpsestic texts is an analogy between damage to the landscape that the characters inhabit and damage to the human body. Methodologically, these works are examined with the aid of critics who consider the representation and cultivation of empathy in fiction.

Keywords:   maturation, trauma, landscape, empathy in fiction, palimpsest, E. Nesbit, Caroline Dale Snedeker, Elizabeth George Speare, Rosemary Sutcliff

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