The Case of Peter Rabbit: Changing Conditions of Literature - download pdf or read online

By Margaret Mackey

ISBN-10: 0203305213

ISBN-13: 9780203305218

ISBN-10: 0203353536

ISBN-13: 9780203353530

ISBN-10: 0815330944

ISBN-13: 9780815330943

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Extra info for The Case of Peter Rabbit: Changing Conditions of Literature for Children (Children's Literature and Culture, Vol 7)

Example text

The answer to that question is complex. At the same time, it is easy to fall into the trap of taking Warne’s legal and financial assessment too literally. Reworking a previously existing story is a legitimate artistic enterprise, which has existed as far back as we have records. Copyright questions and esthetic questions should not be confused. As always with issues of artistic judgement, there would seem to be an irreducible element of subjective esthetics at work. Clarifying the basis of such subjectivity is part of the challenge of dealing with multiple versions of a story.

The second is the Puffin paperback, published in association with Frederick Warne in 1991. The third is entitled Scenes from The Tale of Peter Rabbit, published by Warne in 1989; it contains five threedimensional cut-out pictures from the book, tagged with quotations from the story. At the back of the book, cunningly sealed with a Velcro sticker, the entire text is reproduced along with some line drawings from the privately printed edition. The book can be folded back and the covers tied together to produce a carousel effect.

Peter disobeys his mother without a moment’s hesitation, and her powers of punishment appear to be limited to the dose of camomile tea. Her response to the loss of the jacket and shoes is confined to “wondering” (p. 54). The threat represented by Mr. McGregor, however, is enormous. Peter, running and hiding in the garden, is in a state of very real jeopardy; he and his young readers are entitled to be truly terrified. Potter does not belabor this point, but she does not camouflage it either. Peter, both as a rabbit and as a child, lives in a world where some options are closed to him, but all choices have consequences.

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The Case of Peter Rabbit: Changing Conditions of Literature for Children (Children's Literature and Culture, Vol 7) by Margaret Mackey


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