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Showing posts from 2011

Hundert Jahre später … inspirieren die Märchen der Gebrüder Grimm eine australische Autorin

Eine australische Kinderbuchautorin deutscher Abstammung
Olga Dorothea Ernst, eine frühe australische Kinderbuchautorin, war von der reichen deutschen Kultur ihrer Kindheit geprägt. Deutsche Einwanderer, die ab den 1850er Jahren in Melbourne ankamen, brachten einen hohen Grad technischer Kenntnisse und Fähigkeiten mit und leisteten damit ihren Beitrag zum kulturellen Reichtum der Kolonie Victoria. Als Forscher, Künstler, Autoren, Dichter and Wissenschaftler schufen sie die Grundlagen für viele Melbourner Institutionen, als da sind die Sternwarte, der Botanische Garten, der Zoologische Garten und die Königliche Wissenschaftliche Gesellschaft von Victoria. In dieser Atmosphäre wuchs Olga Ernst auf. Olga fühlte sich inspiriert, ein australisches Märchenland zu schaffen und schrieb 1904 als Sechzehnjährige das Buch ‘Fairytales from the land of the Wattle’ [‘Märchen aus dem Land der Akazien’]. Sie übernahm sehr geschickt viele der althergebrachten Feengestalten aus den Erzählungen der Gebrüd…

Nicht die Kinder bloß speist man mit Märchen ab

It is not children only that one feeds with fairy tales.[Ger., Nicht die Kinder bloss speist man mit Marchen ab.] - Ephraim Gotthold Lessing, Nathan der Weise  (III, 6) 
It has taken me 30 minutes to trawl through various literal translations to understand the meaning of this quote. It seems to be most commonly used to reinforce a subtext of childlike naviety in certain circumstances but I am appropriating it in this instance to mean that adults may enjoy fairytales.  Found at the beginning of Bottighemiers book 'Fairytales and Society' I had the jist of what it meant... but to be accurate is important. Various google translations include: Not only one feeds the children off with fairy tales orNotjustthe kidsfedoffwithfairy tales which translates back to German as Nicht gerade zogen die Kinder weg mit Märchen ein.
Reading translations is fraught with danger but I need to read the original text of fairytale critiques. There is little point assuming that Jack Zipes analysis of a sc…

eBOOKs in the classroom (ASA e-Conference 2011)

It is now possible to have a library in every classroom or even in your pocket. Terence Cavanaugh, 2006
For those of us who like the feel of turning crisp new pages, physically browsing for a hidden gem in a familiar bookstore and have taught students literacy with a Big Book balanced on the literacy stand and struggled to eke out budgets to buy a new sets of interest based readers, the e-book challenges the our personal notion of what is a reading experience. Yet in the time since I began my PhD (3 years ago) Ernst's books have been digitised and downloadable.
By January of this year, e-book sales at had overtaken its paperback sales.
The idea that we can all carry our own miniaturised and personalised library via e-device challenges the old world print access to books. For educators, who are faced with rapid changes in technology, there are new questions to be answered. Will e-books will engage tech-savvy students? Will literac…


Mark Treadwell encouraged conference participants to use digital technologies during his two days of presentations. An interesting experience for me with my brand new iPad2: permission to play while listening to a presentation..
On the positive side, the ability to instantly access his lecture notes, zoom into diagrams and find the answers to questions posed was useful.  Mark would say that googling for the answers is 'collaborating not cheating'. My table group 'found' the answers Mark wanted and offered them to the discussion without any need to reflect deeply. It felt like cheating!
I am NOT a digital native and found it exhausting. Normally those ideas that 'pop' in a random manner during PDs I jot down to later act on. This time I actioned them as I thought of them!
During Mark's presentation:
I sent the url to my latest photo book to a colleague who'd introduced me to while Mark was explaining neurons. I recieved a physical thumbs up from…

Cold and wet but chapter one is drafted

Study tidied, feel like despite the digital world of research paper continues to pile up and another self of the bookcase is folderised while the filing cabinet has been culled of old papers.
At least paper remains while my Time Machine has suddenly decided that backing up is too stressful and has refused to do it. Mild panic but Ross had rescued the thesis until the TM can be repaired or replaced.
Have spent the weekend emailing out research findings, following evidence trails and procrastinating on the Methodology chapter.

Girl writing

Though ten books is a very small sample, there are a number of differences between those fairy tales written by men and those written by women. Argamona, Koppelb, Fine and Shimonib  (2003) concluded after an extensive study of contemporary works that the writing style of women is ‘involved’ while men’s writing is more ‘informational’. Put simply women’s writing develops relationships between reader and writer while men’s writing references concrete facts such as place and time to build context. Interesting research to be queried and challenged. Male fairy tale writers do not seem to have the same concerns about the worth of their book while female writers seek approval and acknowledgement and their approach is self-deprecating, perhaps to deflect criticism and also indicate their awareness of social expectations for female writers.  The women writers humbly offer their stories to their audience. Which of these is the male writer?
AUSTRALIA! Hast thou no enchanted castles within thy va…

Snowed in on the Central Highlands

It's tempting to go for a walk around the lake, drive 23 km down the road for a coffee at the Hungry Wombat Cafe or hike around Lake St. Claire rather than write BUT we're snowed in. Kel who visited for the weekend can't get back to Hobart to catch a plane to Melbourne. The roads are closed. It's snowed for 24 hours off and on. The world outside is white and magical and the fire inside is glowing. Nothing to do but eat chocolate cake and write! I should be productive. Monday 8 pm - still snowed in - road closed between Derwent Bridge and Tarraleah - so Kel has borrowed the laptop so she can work!

Cold Conference but some hot tips

The Australian History Association Conference in the amazing UTAS (University of Tasmania) Academy of Arts building: machinery and space but very cold. Definitely a 'coat' Conference, though the food was definitely warming (soup, hot muffins) - a bit lonely as I am used to people chatting in queues or after leaving presentations. Networking happens in the breaks but I felt a little wallflowerish (Yes, unusual for me!) and probably missed the opportunity to kick start some new thinking patterns.
Great artworks on the wall by students and my favorite was 'Berliner Dom' (I was warmer there last winter) and the Teapot style adult 'Polly Pockets'.
A couple of good contacts:
Research about the movement between Hobart and Dunedin which clarifies why Beatrice Wilcken was there for a couple of years. (exciting!)Research that precipitated thinking about the purpose, motive, impact of writing in marginsResearch about the use of court records and building individual lives. O…

Principal or Princess

After a term as Acting Principal with the non-stop plethora of challenges that are part of the job: dead rats to bury; technology hiccups - dead photocopiers, dropped laptops; the worry of purchasing furniture/ shelving for our new library-technology space when my degrees are in education NOT design; trucks that smash the water meter 2 hours before 400 children descend on the school and want to use the toilet; dealing with student learning issues to maximise outcomes and coaching staff;  the opportunity to escape to our favourite J & J house in the Great Lakes area of Tassie and do some writing is my idea of bliss.

First I am attending The Australian Historical Society's Conference: History At The Edge Conference  ash cloud and the demise of Tiger airlines permitting with a paper exploring the similarities between the fairy tales of Olga Ernst and those of another German woman writer Beatrice Wilcken whose stories were published and republished in Tasmania.

Some may wonder wh…

Another Grimm year!

Olga Ernst wrote Fairytales from the land of the Wattle in 1904 at the age of sixteen. Ernst cleverly placed the old world faerie folk of Europe that she knew from listening to the Grimm brothers fairytales and placed them into the new Australian landscape delighting Australian children. Ernst created a fairyland that Australian children could relate to and she says in her book introduction, "These are written in the hope that they will... win approval of those to whom a loving study of tree and flower, bird and insect, and the association of familiar elements of old world fairy-lore with Australian surroundings, commend themselves. Iremember watching videos of Snow White (1937) (Too scary for children when released. My grandparents left my mother with a babysitter), Cinderella (1950)and Sleeping Beauty (1959) but haven't seen The Princess and the Frog (2009), an adaptation of "The Frog Prince" or Tangled (2010), an adaptation of "Rapunzel".  The Brothers Gr…

Once upon a time, mate.

These are the stories I have defined as the first Australian fairytales. My choice is open to interpretation. The definition of fairytales for analytical research in my thesis is that a fairytale is usually a short and simple story that features folkloric characters such as elves, trolls, goblins, giants, fairies, witches or other magical beings and the results of their interactions with humans. Talking animals or inanimate objects that speak may also be included. A happy ending is never guaranteed and there may be a moral message.

1. 1870
Roland, Sarah Anne Charlotte (pseud. Gumsucker), Rosalie's Reward; or The Fairy Treasure, Wreford, Ballarat, Vic. 15 p. 2. 1871
Desda (pseud.), The Rival Fairies, Turner, Sydney, NSW. [From Mason's The Australian Christmas Story Book] 24 p. ; 17 cm. 3. 1871 Lockeyear, J. R, Mr. Bunyip; or Mary Somerville's Ramble: An Australian Story for Children, Henry S. Dawson, Melbourne, Vic. 16 p. ; 16 cm

Judged by the audience.

I started this blog as a way to reflect on intriguing aspects of my research. I wonder about who is reading this blog? It is nice to get emails and the occasional comment. I ponder about  the regular visitor from Slovenia  and am delighted that I was discovered by Heyne family members quite by accident.The most visited posts are:
A PhD! What's in it for me?  Sept 12,2010
Teaching in the blood   Oct 19, 2010
Rosalie's Reward   Oct 16, 2010
Tassie Tales    Aug 15, 2010
Toxic Friendships    Jun 19, 2010
Producing a poster - AARE Conference  Oct 24, 2010
So... how popular are the Grimms?  March 6 2011

Hanging out in the fog

This is my favourite holiday snap. I am drawn to the incongruity of the seemingly NQR (not quite right) character (it's a German historical precinct not the North Pole) with a coffee. At the Brandenburg Gate, performers, dressed as WW2 soliders, stand in prime positions and expect payment from tourists who feel the need for a photo opportunity. 
This has been feedback week:  
1. Monday feedback on Thesis
2. Tuesday feedback on Staff Attitudes to School Survey
3. Wednesday feedback at gym.
I feel empathy with the reindeer - will he learn the hard way that he's got it wrong?  But, like the coffe-break reindeer, I also see the sense in reflecting over coffee and ... coffee at Seven Seeds, Carlton is very good. 
Feedback question: So, how do you think I’m progressing?
In response to feedback here are my SMART goals:
1. writing to a timeline/structure before next meeting with support from Pam and Marnee
2. three workshops planned with support of RNL to address serious and ongoing issues
3. w…

Capturing the essence of 'Fairytales' for German translation

This week I revamped my poster, attempting to simplify it to send to Prof. Dr. Achim Barsch who has a student who is willing to translate it for me. It's difficult to know what to put in or leave out. An exercise in succinctly capturing the essence for another market.

Australian Society of Authors

The Experimedia room in the State Library of Victoria was a surprise. Most of my time at the SLV has been spent hunched over microfiche readers in dark corrals persistently trying to unearth tiny deposits of information on Ernst.  The light-filled bluestone lined courtyard  (once a carpark between buildings) with its modern atrium ceiling and digital tools is an intriguing blend of past and future.  Last night I was delighted that Hazel Edwards invited me to be part of the celebration of the ASA's 'rebirth' in Victoria, with the opportunity to meet other writers and gain a compelling insight into the future of books and authorship in the digital age.

Letter to the Editor (but not in German)

I was fortunate to be in Kassel researching the influence of the Brothers Grimm on the writing of one of Australia's first fairytale writers, Olga Ernst. When I attended the Opening Ceremony of the temporary Bruder-Grimm-Museum, I  was impressed with the quality of the exhibits. The visual imagery of the clothes line, hung with strips of text from the most loved fairytales in the world, drew me into the world of Grimm -  the installation seemed to have been plucked from a peasant's backyard. Being able to see the editorial changes in some of the text will be particularly interesting to those visitors who have only read the later edition of their works. With my very limited German I appreciated that the text is also being provided in English.
My friends Thomas and Gerlinde sent me the text of the article 'Im schlauraffenland' 22 jan 2011 and I was pleased to discover that there is an English version as I am only able to read a little of the German edition I was able to r…

Bruder Grimm Centre -visually appealing

A temporary, but visually appealing, home for the Brothers Grimm.

I was fortunate to be in Kassel researching the influence of the Brothers Grimm on the writing of one of Australia's first fairytale writers, Olga Ernst, arriving the day before the Opening of the interm Bruder Grimm Centre (the original is being renovated and will be completed in 2014) . Although my German is very limited, the passion of the speakers for 'their fairytales' was obvious and the audience was as devoted. Two large rooms are lined with exhibits that carefully and sequentially will take the visitor through the lives and work of the Grimms.   I  was impressed with the quality of the exhibits. The visual imagery of the clothes line, hung with strips of text from the most loved fairytales in the world, drew me into the world of Grimm -  the installation seemed to have been plucked from a peasant's backyard. 
Being able to see the editorial changes in some of the text will be particularly interesting…