Playing with picturebooks : postmodernism and the postmodernesque

Allan, Cherie Phylis Ann (2010) Playing with picturebooks : postmodernism and the postmodernesque. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

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This thesis traces the influence of postmodernism on picturebooks. Through a review of current scholarship on both postmodernism and postmodern literature it examines the multiple ways in which picturebooks have responded to the influence of postmodernism. The thesis is predominantly located in the field of Cultural and Literary Studies, which informs the ways in which children’s literature is positioned within contemporary culture and how it responds to the influences which shape its production and reception. Cultural and Literary Studies also offers a useful theoretical frame for analysing issues of textuality, ideology, and originality, as well as social and political comment in the focus texts. The thesis utilises the theoretical contributions by, in particular, Linda Hutcheon, Brian McHale, and Fredric Jameson as well as reference to children’s literature studies. This thesis makes a significant contribution to the development of an understanding of the place of the postmodern picturebook within the cultural context of postmodernism. It adds to the field of children’s literature research through an awareness of the (continuing) evolution of the postmodern picturebook particularly as the current scholarship on the postmodernism picturebook does not engage with the changing form and significance of the postmodern picturebook to the same extent as this thesis. This study is significant from a methodological perspective as it draws on a wide range of theoretical perspectives across literary studies, visual semiotics, philosophy, cultural studies, and history to develop a tripartite methodological framework that utilises the methods of postclassical narratology, semiotics, and metafictive strategies to carry out the textual analysis of the focus texts. The three analysis chapters examine twenty-two picturebooks in detail with respect to the ways in which the conventions of narrative are subverted and how dominant discourses are interrogated. Chapter 4: Subverting Narrative Processes includes analysis of narrative point of view, modes of representation, and characters and the problems of identity and subjectivity. Chapter 5: Challenging Truth, History, and Unity examines questions of ontology, the difficulties of representing history, and addresses issues of difference and ‘otherness’. The final textual analysis chapter, Chapter 6: Engaging with Postmodernity, critiques texts which engage with issues of globalisation, mass media, and consumerism. Brief discussion of a further fifteen picturebooks throughout the thesis provides additional support. Children’s texts have a tradition of being both resistant and compliant. Its resistance has made a space for the development of the postmodern picturebook; its compliance is evident in its tendency to take a route around a truly radical or iconoclastic position. This thesis posits that children’s postmodern picturebooks adopt what suits their form and purposes by drawing from and reflecting on some influences of postmodernism while disregarding those that seem irrelevant to its direction. Furthermore, the thesis identifies a shift in the focus of a number of postmodern picturebooks produced since the turn of the twenty-first century. This trend has seen a shift from texts which interrogate discourses of liberal humanism to those that engage with aspects of postmodernity. These texts, postmodernesque picturebooks, offer contradictory perspectives on aspects of society emanating from the rise in global trends mentioned above.

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ID Code: 41757
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Mallan, Kerry & Patterson, Annette
Keywords: postmodernism, postmodernity, postmodernesque, picturebooks, identity and subjectivity, metafiction, historiographic metafiction, postclassical narratology, semiotics, textual analysis
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 20 May 2011 04:50
Last Modified: 15 Apr 2014 06:11

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