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Showing posts from December, 2013

A poetic connection with Portarlington

‘Say not – when yesterday you gave Your child to sleep beneath the wave, That could it lie beneath the sod ‘Twould nearer seem to you and God” Written for Mrs. Calhoun on the day of my departure from Portarlington.  With love from Olga Straubel’. 16/6/81.   Retired second-hand bookseller Ted showed me a poem by Olga Straubel in an old scrapbook he had acquired fifteen years early. Many of the pages are filled with symmetrically placed die-cut Victorian paper ornaments of flowers and animals printed in Germany. Occasionally there are pressed ferns. Ted contacted me, not because of the scrapbook, but because there are also two carefully handwritten poems that seem somewhat out of place. One is signed by Olga Straubel, an early teacher of Portarlington and Ernst's mother. A brief history of Olga Straubel Johanna Maria Olga Straubel (known as Olga all her life) was born in 1860 and lived in Richmond. Her family were staunch members of the Melbourne German Lutheran Community. Olga took up a p…

What's your favourite fairy tale?

Invited to join the conversation on fairy tales on Life Matters on Friday with Jack Zipes, eminent fairy tale researcher and Kate Forsyth, author of one of my favourite books, The Wild Girl, I was challenged to name by favourite Australian fairy tales by a Glen Iris Primary parent who had listened to the conversation on my return to school. Life Matters Of the classics I choose Cinderella, fascinated by the way inanimate objects such as pumpkins turn into golden coaches and the importance of finding some-one with the 'right fit' for a relationship (if only by the tangible and symbolic search via glass slipper).  My Australian choice is a small book of which there is only one known copy in the State Library, Victoria: Rosalie's Reward; or the fairy treasure. It has some of the elements of the Cinderella fairy tale: an impoverished child abandoned (through financial necessity) by her mother, a Prince who rescues her and a group of fairies who do the work of the traditional sin…

Do early Australian fairy tales interest children today?

Or does their appeal remain fixed in the era they were written? Hart (1950) made the point that, ‘books flourish when they answer a need and die when they do not’ (285) and it is worth considering for example the fairytales of Tarella Quin whose fairy tale books were reprinted numerous times. Quin (aka Quin Daskein), published her first fairy tale, Gum Tree Brownie in 1907[1] with enlargements and variations appearing with regularity in 1918, 1925, 1934 and 1983. Perhaps, the reason is that her publisher - still publishing one hundred years later allowed the opportunity for re-publishing out-of-print books if it was believed that public taste indicated a book may become popular again.
However, when Gum Tree Brownie was republished as The Other Side of Nowhere: Fairy Stories of the Never Never (1983) two stories that did not suit the current socio-cultural world were omitted. Cruelty and death are not seen as suitable topics for children’s books today - or at least not in the way they w…

Frohe Weihnachten

Frohe Wiehnachten.
Ich studiere ihrer Olga Ernst seit zwei Jahren und ich geniesse die Forschung. Ich schätze die Hilfe Familie und interessant Menschen aus aller Welt lesen den Blog. Vielen Dank meinen Lehrerin. Daniela lehrt jede Woche Deutsch. Ich kann etwas Deutsch lesen. Ich werde nach Weihnachten wieder Bloggen.

My career as a reader

My thesis chapters will begin with an image and  'personal voice', a reflective conversation about my thoughts at different times during the thesis process. I took this photo for the chapter on early Australian children's literature, rummaging through my childhood books and trying to choose favourites. Sadly Bottersnikes and Gumbles is no longer there, perhaps fallen to pieces or lost in a move. Maybe I just borrowed it from the Mount Waverley Library during my early career as a reader. It seems there are many readers blogging about it.  Buying a secondhand copy could set you back over a hundred dollars. Could it be republished as an eBook? I like the idea that reading is a career (Fairbairn and Fairbairn),  a 'profession', with educational requirements, and areas of specialisation. I can trace my 'reading career' by perusing my bookshelf: distinctive eras of fairy tales, school stories, science fiction and biography jumbled up, sometimes two books deep on …