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Title: The Puffin phenomenon and its creator, Kaye Webb
Authors: Wright, Katherine Jane
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This thesis explores the importance of Puffin Books to the making of modern children’s literature during the 1960s and 1970s. It examines the contemporary reception of Puffin Books to assess their quality as an imprint and argues that being a paperback imprint did not prevent the series from wielding great influence in shaping this period of book history. In particular the thesis investigates the role of Kaye Webb, the Puffin editor during these two transformational decades, in achieving Puffin’s high status. The study argues that Webb personally played a large part in the success of the company in her creation of a reading community which provided an audience for such high quality books and was the basis for a future generation of literary readers. Much of this was achieved through the Puffin Club and its magazine Puffin Post, started by Webb in 1967. The thesis first provides historical background for the Puffin imprint from its inception in 1940 as part of the Penguin family. It continues by examining how Webb’s early work led to her arrival at Puffin as a pioneering career woman. The focus of the remainder of the study is on key aspects of Puffin’s history which demonstrate how a combination of innovative business methods and artistic idealism gave rise to the Puffin phenomenon. These are: • 1963, a year in which Puffin’s quality is demonstrably high; • 1967, the year in which Puffin Post was founded; • historical fiction as a privileged genre of the 1960s; • realistic fiction of the 1970s. Research is heavily based on unpublished material at Seven Stories, the Centre for Children's Books in Newcastle upon Tyne. A wide range of Puffin Books is covered as part of the methodology for demonstrating reception and quality.
Description: Ph.D Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics

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