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Title: Scholarship boys and children's books :working-class writing for children in Britain in the 1960s and 1970s
Authors: Takiuchi, Haru Mikiko
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This thesis explores how, during the 1960s and 1970s in Britain, writers from the working-class helped significantly reshape British children’s literature through their representations of working-class life and culture. The three writers at the centre of this study – Aidan Chambers, Alan Garner and Robert Westall – were all examples of what Richard Hoggart, in The Uses of Literacy (1957), termed ‘scholarship boys’. By this, Hoggart meant individuals from the working-class who were educated out of their class through grammar school education. The thesis shows that their position as scholarship boys both fed their writing and enabled them to work radically and effectively within the British publishing system as it then existed. Although these writers have attracted considerable critical attention, their novels have rarely been analysed in terms of class, despite the fact that class is often central to their plots and concerns. This thesis, therefore, provides new readings of four novels featuring scholarship boys: Aidan Chambers’ Breaktime and Dance on My Grave, Robert Westall’s Fathom Five, and Alan Garner’s Red Shift. The thesis is split into two parts, and these readings make up Part 1. Part 2 focuses on scholarship boy writers’ activities in changing publishing and reviewing practices associated with the British children’s literature industry. In doing so, it shows how these scholarship boy writers successfully supported a movement to resist the cultural mechanisms which suppressed working-class culture in British children’s literature. The thesis ends by considering the legacies of their efforts and demonstrating, through close readings of Westall’s The Machine-Gunners and Garner’s The Owl Service, that the class context of the time is embedded in the texts in ways that have not previously been recognised. Drawing on the work of Raymond Williams and Pierre Bourdieu, as well as referring more generally to studies of scholarship boys in social sciences and education, this thesis also makes use of personal interviews and archival materials, which together yield significant insights on British children’s literature of the period.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics

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