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 Post subject: The CBB: Extract from 'The English Girls' School Story':
PostPosted: 03 Dec 2010, 20:34 
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Castor Oil!
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I am posting this in response to requests on the thread re. publication of my book in Recommendations. This was suggested as a suitable place for it, but if mods want to move/delete it, feel free! Also please be warned that, as I said on the thread, it's already a little dated. Don't be put off by the theoretical beginning, it does get better. I've just noticed that all my formatting seems to have disappeared, no italics for titles, paragraphs all running together etc, but just pretend it's all there. :dontknow: Edited to say I can't bear it and am going to put at least the italics back in.

BTW, there will be no more snippets; please(please!) order the book from your local library! :D

To contextualise: this follows a section on fanzines and fill-ins.

Internet Fanfiction
Expansion and interpretation reach their apotheosis, however, in the internet fanfiction being produced, for example, in the Middles Common Room on LiveJournal, but paramountly on The Chaletian Bulletin Board , a sophisticated and well managed website set up in its present form by ‘Liss’ in 2003 (there are links to this site on Myspace, Facebook and Bebo).
The advent of the Internet with all its possibilities for participation and involvement has facilitated a move from appreciation of the original text which, although sometimes intense to the point of obsession, was essentially separated from it, to an involvement in and interactive production of texts that has transformed the creative experience and blurred the boundaries between writer, reader and audience. This deserves examination and analysis, as the passionate attachment of the ‘fans’ to the texts and their attempts to adapt the canon to enhance its relevance to their own culture and emotional lives is an overwhelming testimony to the continuing strength and potency of Elinor Brent-Dyer’s writing.
It has to be recognised that fanfiction is an offence to many aficionados of the original texts, who see it as an almost sacrilegious assault on the canon and a theft of the intellectual property of the original author. This attitude, though very understandable, is ultimately short-sighted. The production of fanfiction is made possible only by the recognition that texts are polysemic (capable of many different meanings) and that meaning itself is not fixed, but created by each reader as s/he interacts with the text; Cornel Sandvoss suggests that ‘the object of distinction in fandom is no longer the text, but the meaning that is constituted in the interaction between text and reader.’ In Karen Hellekson and Kristina Busse’s wide-ranging Fan Fiction and Fan Communities in the Age of the Internet , Abigail Derecho, basing her thinking on Jacques Derrida’s theory of archives , has coined the term ‘archontic literature’ to describe fanfiction, on the premise that its specific relation to and location within the source texts takes it beyond intertextuality to the point where it becomes part of the archive of the original, a body of work that is ever expanding and never completely closed. Thus, fanfiction does not violate the boundaries of the original text, it merely enlarges them by itself becoming a part of the text’s archive. The work of the original author has been entered and expanded by the fanfiction writer, any concept of the author ‘owning’ her work, other than in a legal, copyright sense having become meaningless. It is arguable that it is impossible to ‘own’ a character whom other people have taken out of the text and into their hearts and minds, but fanfiction goes further; everyone who reads and comments on a story can enter the text and have some input into its development and interpretation, as the roles of author, reader and audience blur. Fanfiction truly operates as what Sheenagh Pugh has called ‘the democratic genre’; everyone is free to participate, and ‘in this environment the reader is the writer’s equal and partner.’
On the Chaletian Bulletin Board, stories constantly interweave and cross-fertilise; nothing is owned, everything is appropriated and shared (with suitable acknowledgement). In the Chalet School canon, two of the most significant characters are Hilda Annersley and Nell Wilson, co-Heads of the school and very close friends. In Tensions by ‘Ellie’, which lays waste most of the characters, Miss Wilson is killed in an earthquake while on a school trip to South America. ‘Lesley’ immediately took up the theme to write a short and restrained piece (My Friend) describing Miss Annersley’s reaction to her death, and this has been expanded by ‘Mary R’ into another book-length and deeply emotive exploration of grief and the re-making of self as Hilda adjusts to life without her soul partner (New Dreams), while ‘Cath V-P’, in The Return and Christmas 1939, approaches Hilda and Nell’s relationship from the opposite end, charting its progress from its early days.
The one common element amongst a very diverse group of ‘fans’ is their passionate attachment to the texts and the importance of the characters to their current daily lives; they do not read the texts out of nostalgia, but out of a need to connect them with their present-day emotional experiences. Because of this intensity of relationship with the text, fanfiction writers fill gaps in the textual canon. They are ‘not content merely to consume. They [want] to add to it, to fix what they [feel] to be wrong with it or missing from it and to extend its range;’ as the fanfic writer enters the source text, she ‘enhances, echoes and illuminates it, explains, qualifies and even changes it.’ This function covers either gaps of action with missing scenes supplied, or emotional gaps where the reader/writer creates or deepens relationships which she finds unsatisfactory in the original text. On the CBB, many writers pick up and extend incidents or characters which are quite minor in the original, or present plot and character from a different point of view. There is, for example, ‘patmac’’s much-appreciated The Village Boy, a book-length drabble about the early life of Reg Entwhistle, a significant, but minor, character in the books, while ‘Pat’’s Chalet School Problem treats the story of a ‘common’ girl whom Brent-Dyer will never allow to be fully assimilated into the school community from Joan’s own perspective. ‘Mary R’ has similarly used the somewhat sparse information in the staff meeting in New Chalet School (1938) as a basis for her excellent story Passing the Baton, where she explores Hilda Annersley’s reaction to being asked to take on the Headship because of her predecessor’s terminal illness.
The canon itself is permanently changed in some respects by the fanon. Lesley Green, in Headmistress (this is a published fill-in, not fanfiction, but Lesley plays a major part in the CBB), gave Miss Annersley a Bishop father who does not exist in canon, but who is so convincing that he has become totally accepted by the community. The concept of Nell Wilson, an extremely tidy and organised individual in the books, as terminally messy, has also resonated with the community, irredeemably changing our perceptions of the character. Both Miss Annersley and Miss Wilson’s close friendship and that of Kathie Ferrars and Nancy Wilmot in the later books have been reclaimed as sexual by ‘CatherineB’ in An Alternative Romance and ‘Gypsum’ in The Head of the Chalet School, and ‘Cath V-P’ sees the relationship in the same light. ‘Lesley’ would refute this, and ‘MaryR’ remains unsure, but, in fanfiction, there is room for all interpretations.
The longest-running (and the longest, comprising eleven episodes written over five years) story on the CBB is ‘Lesley’’s The Real Chalet School, also structured around Miss Annersley and Miss Wilson, and this is a particularly fascinating case-study which graphically illustrates the many-layered complexity of fanfiction. The premise of RCS is that the Chalet School characters, locked into set responses and behaviour patterns because they are fictional and therefore under the dominance of their author, escape from the books into ‘real life’, and recreate the school in a new location, running it along modern lines, with the staff having to retrain to upgrade their outdated knowledge and skills. The idea is clever and original and the writing is frequently powerful, while the fact that the characters are being liberated from their stultifying roles by fanfiction is, in itself, deeply significant. ‘Lesley’ changes many of the fundamentals of the original text (for example, the strong sense of place, especially in the Tyrol books, which immeasurably aids identification by grounding the texts in reality, is eroded as the school moves to Australia), yet RCS is still recognisable and still works. The reason for this is the strong characters created by Brent-Dyer and sustained and expanded by ‘Lesley’. The whole structure hinges on Hilda Annersley and Nell Wilson and, while the pair indulge in adventures and escapades which would have been unthinkable in the canon, they are still very recognisably themselves.
The change from fictional existence to ‘real life’ gives the characters choice, but this means that they can choose to behave in a way which would have been impossible for the original character. This has been described as ‘a textual attempt to make certain characters ‘perform’ according to different behavioural strips,’ and, in terms of plot, it aids suspense because the reader assumes that she knows the character and cannot believe that, to take one example, a familiar and exemplary member of staff would be involved in a plan to harm another. Profound moral questions are aired; Miss Annersley is left behind when the others escape and is tortured by Elinor to the point where, in an Orwellian moment, she begs her to do it to her closest friend instead. When she is eventually rescued, her remembrance of this ‘betrayal’ clouds her relationship with that friend until Miss Wilson’s sound common sense and unfaltering love enable her to see more clearly and begin to forgive herself.
It is at this level of character that fanfiction dissolves what is arguably the most significant boundary, that between reality and fantasy - ‘most fanfic writers like pushing and dissolving boundaries, and the one between ‘real’ and ‘fictional’ most of all.’ Many fanfiction writers have a profound awareness of the ‘reality’ of the characters they write about, and speak of their lives being dominated by the voices in their head. Rather than being an indication of insanity, this is, of course, a common experience for character-based writers in any genre, but the separation of strong characters from their original context in fanfiction does give them a life of their own which moves them beyond the original author and enables them to inhabit any number of different stories (even different genres in ‘crossovers’) while remaining recognisably themselves. The particularly intense emotional bond between the fan and the object of fandom reinforces these feelings of reality, indeed Pugh has claimed that ‘if people can be consumed with interest in [the characters’] lives, feel love and grief for them and find their own lives and actions influenced by them, then they are ‘not real’ only in the fairly limited sense of having no physical presence.’ Matt Hills, too, sees fandom as a form of cultural activity or ‘play’ which moves across the usual boundaries and categories of experience and, in a ludic reading of the text, ‘enables the exploration of that tissue boundary between fantasy and reality, between the real and the imagined, between the self and the other … challeng[ing] the boundaries between internal and external realities.’ Abigail Derecho , basing her insights on Gilles Deleuze’s concept of the virtual being opposed to the actual, not the real, with the virtual realm of possibilities being no less real than the realm of the actual , concludes that ‘fanfiction … permits virtualities to become actualised.’
This interweaving of the real and the virtual is well exemplified in The Real Chalet School. As we have seen, the original author and canon are present as fictional constructs within the new text. The author herself is eventually destroyed, having become evil because of her attempts to retain control – and Brent-Dyer has, of course, been replaced by ‘Lesley’ as the author. However, ‘Lesley’ avoids replicating the role of controlling author, not only by responding to comments from other readers as the story progresses interactively, but by appearing as a character in the story herself, together with several real-life members of the CBB. The ‘real’ and fictional characters interact within the story, the real-life author and her friends having been turned into textual constructs.
To complicate matters further, although writers of fanfiction are using an already existing character with whom they strongly identify, and whom they perceive as having an almost palpable reality, the writers themselves are constructs, performing an online identity ‘where real-life identity is partially hidden and where online identities are partially performed.’ All that is known about a writer is what she chooses to reveal and the ‘truth’ of that revelation is impossible to determine; only the online performance exists, so that, despite all the technology, the writer, as ever, can be known only through the text she has created. Her identity and her relationship with her readers is, of course, also a construction, infinitely blurring the distinction between fantasy and reality.
The process of remaking and reinterpreting the original canon restores its cultural relevance and re-establishes the text as a site of current moral and emotional significance. The fan community has been described as ‘mutable, fluid … with endless overlaps and resistant to ideological closure’ and certainly several stories examine the areas of ideological closure in the text (those taken for granted by the author within her own time and milieu) from an interrogative standpoint; differences are discussed and negotiated as writers find their own meaning in the original texts. The fact that so many young women find the books meaningful and involving to the point where they choose to spend a significant amount of time reading and writing extensions of them is striking. Nevertheless, the series is the product of another era and, however advanced Brent-Dyer’s views were for her time, some of the elements in society that she took for granted (smoking and servants, for example) are problematic for modern readers and impede the full involvement with the texts that the readers/writers want to experience. This is negotiated by the writing of ‘drabbles’ which provide a dialogue with the source text . The fundamental Christian ethos of the school is challenged by drabbles that predicate the arrival at the school of an atheist (‘Ann’: A Five Letter Word); a Hindu (‘Aparna’: A Chalet Girl from India) and a pagan (‘Lulie’: The Chalet School and a Pagan), while ‘Katarzyna’’s The Chalet School in Court examines the implications of the, to modern eyes, very casual supervision on school trips. Raise the Scarlet Standard High by ‘Alison H’ has as a central character a new member of the kitchen staff who is a dedicated Union member and questions many of the traditional labour practices of the school. Even more interesting in Alison’s drabble is the way in which the story changes and develops as responses from women of different ages who have life experience of very different social structures put alternative points of view and a compromise is negotiated as readers extend the parameters of their own understanding, through dialogue with one another and with the source text. Pupils and teachers with disabilities are integrated (an autistic pupil in ‘Squirrel’s Rachel Tests the Chalet School; a blind pupil with her guide dog in ‘Katarzyna’’s Gabby Goes to School and a deaf teacher in ‘Lesley’’s Real Chalet School – even lactose intolerance in ‘Ianswythe’’s Challenge for Matey).
All the authors are negotiating the meaning of the text to fit their own needs and preoccupations, and this sometimes extends to denying and reversing quite fundamental original elements. For me, a vital element in the texts is the strength and wholeness of the unmarried women in the CS universe. ‘Fatima’’s perceptions are very different, and her drabbles concentrate on finding a mate for the entire community, including the joint headmistresses (‘Fatima’: Miss Annersley’s Vacation; A New Experience for Miss Wilson) and one of the major tomboy characters, who is restored to a suitable femininity in adulthood (The Transformation of Jack Lambert). My point of view is diametrically opposed to ‘Fatima’’s, yet we are both able to find and create what we need from the gaps in the original texts, and on the CBB we can do so within a community where we can still support each other on a personal level, for the final major function of fanfiction is the creation of community.
The original texts are about community, and the CBB, which is fascinating on a sociological as well as a literary level, is an outstandingly supportive and tolerant example of just this. There are well over a thousand members, with the count increasing daily. There are some men and some young teenagers, but most are adult women, of all ages (seventeen to sixty-eight at the last count) and a wide range of nationalities. Most are highly educated, either postgraduate students or members of the professions; a surprising number are scientists, and many have never written before. Most share a basic life-view and many have a deep religious faith; the people who love the Chalet series are, of course, likely to be in sympathy with the ethos of the books.
The sociological function of the board is separated from the literary by a section dedicated to members’ personal problems and joys; anyone posting here can rely on instant support (because of its international nature, there is someone on the board twenty-four hours a day) and not only a sympathetic response but informed and useful advice from someone well-qualified in the area under discussion. Members are able to share problems which some of them have obviously never articulated before in a context where they know they will be accepted and supported and not judged, and this is clearly of immense value to many – and reflects the Chalet School community rather well. Even in practical terms, ‘newbies’ on the board are, like new girls in the Chalet School, given a ‘sheepdog’ to help them familiarise themselves with procedures; it is hard not to feel that Brent-Dyer, whose absorption into her fictional school extended to providing identical uniform for her real-life pupils, would have appreciated this intertwining of reality and fiction.
Yet this is a incongruity about the community, for the problems of the constructed author are equally relevant here. The entire community is made up of constructed identities, ‘textual creations … only referencing the real person and body.’ , even names being frequently hidden behind pennames and avatars. Again, all that is known is what anyone chooses to reveal, thus the entire community is characterised by a mixture of reality and performativity. Relationships are conducted through the written word, with all its potential for misunderstanding and ambiguity, though, as in all on-line communication, attempts are made to circumvent this. Actions are indicated by phrases bounded by asterisks, feelings and tone by the use of emoticons, all of which culminates in a ‘conscious performance of physical reality.’ Despite this, the anonymity of on-line interaction facilitates sharing of experience at a deep level and authentic relationships do flourish. Many members of the board meet in real life (indeed, there are periodic ‘Gathers’ for just this purpose) and many genuine and lasting friendships are formed. Nevertheless, that moment of first meeting, when one is unsure whether one is opening the door to someone one knows very well or not at all (both are, of course, true), is deeply unsettling, but, like all on-line interaction and like fanfiction itself, full of possibilities.
Derecho suggests that the appeal of archontic literature to women is that ‘it undermines conventional notions of authority, boundaries and property … archontic literature is inherently, structurally, a literature of the subordinate’ , and Sandvoss, too, argues that fans indulge in ‘”semiotic guerrilla warfare”’, creating a ‘carnivalesque space which … allows for a temporary subversion of the existing social order.’ These insights mirror and connect with more general theories about women’s writing which will be discussed in the following chapter.


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 Post subject: Re: The CBB: Extract from 'The English Girls' School Story':
PostPosted: 03 Dec 2010, 21:18 
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This is a very much 'out of left field' comment, but I find your use of intertextuality in this context interesting and would love to know what you view its meaning to be.

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 Post subject: Re: The CBB: Extract from 'The English Girls' School Story':
PostPosted: 03 Dec 2010, 22:00 
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There are 2 sentences about one of my drabbles in the book? I had no idea I was mentioned in it. I'll have to try to get hold of a copy now (er, self-obsessed, moi?).


BTW, if anyone who's good with computers knows how to get italics from Word to copy across to the internet then please would they let me have idiot-proof details, because I tend to use italics quite a lot and it's very annoying having to go through and put them all back in when posting a drabble update! I sympathise fully about the loss of the formatting!

ETA - could I just ask if the other people whose drabbles have been referred to were aware that they were being mentioned in the book? Thanks.

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Last edited by Alison H on 03 Dec 2010, 23:33, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The CBB: Extract from 'The English Girls' School Story':
PostPosted: 03 Dec 2010, 22:27 
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Alison H wrote:
BTW, if anyone who's good with computers knows how to get italics from Word to copy across to the internet then please would they let me have idiot-proof details, because I tend to use italics quite a lot and it's very annoying having to go through and put them all back in when posting a drabble update! I sympathise fully about the loss of the formatting!


When I do anything in Word, I type in [or paste in if there's lots of examples] the codes for italics [ i ] without the spaces, to start the italics, and [/ i ] to stop them and/or [ b ] and [/ b ] for bold. It's a bit fiddley but it does at least save doing it online.

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 Post subject: Re: The CBB: Extract from 'The English Girls' School Story':
PostPosted: 04 Dec 2010, 03:27 
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Thanks Tara, I found that really interesting. It may have even persuaded me to buy the book :D

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 Post subject: Re: The CBB: Extract from 'The English Girls' School Story':
PostPosted: 04 Dec 2010, 04:33 
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My graduate advisor once suggested I make my life a "seamless web," in that I should study the things that most interest me. I never happened to mention the Chalet School to her, but your analysis makes me wish I had done so.

Transparency to the subjects of one's inquiry is fraught with peril, and I congratulate you on completing the circle.


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 Post subject: Re: The CBB: Extract from 'The English Girls' School Story':
PostPosted: 04 Dec 2010, 11:38 
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Interesting, very interesting. What you say at the end about women's writing is quite thought provoking for me, because 'women's writing' is a category that, academically speaking, I tend to be rather suspicious of. But (duh, I'm stupid sometimes) you've just brought it home to me that that is exactly what's going on here on the board - largely, women writing for women about women. So I'm going to have to go and think a bit more about my critical categories....also I just have learnt a new word ("archontic") from this!

I hope when the second edition of the book comes out, you'll add a note about how the CBBers responded - you've got to keep that intertextuality thing going :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: The CBB: Extract from 'The English Girls' School Story':
PostPosted: 04 Dec 2010, 15:46 
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Like Alison, Judith, I was a trifle flummoxed to find my drabbles discussed, especially Baton as well as ND, :lol: so am awaiting the book now with even more bated breath. :mrgreen: Thank you for posting that piece.

abbeybufo wrote:
Alison H wrote:
BTW, if anyone who's good with computers knows how to get italics from Word to copy across to the internet then please would they let me have idiot-proof details, because I tend to use italics quite a lot and it's very annoying having to go through and put them all back in when posting a drabble update! I sympathise fully about the loss of the formatting!


When I do anything in Word, I type in [or paste in if there's lots of examples] the codes for italics [ i ] without the spaces, to start the italics, and [/ i ] to stop them and/or [ b ] and [/ b ] for bold. It's a bit fiddley but it does at least save doing it online.

Now why did I never think of doing that, when there are so many parts that are in italics in my stories??? :shock: Clever Ruth! :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: The CBB: Extract from 'The English Girls' School Story':
PostPosted: 04 Dec 2010, 17:24 
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"Flummoxed" is a good word, Mary. I'm not quite sure how I feel about being mentioned in a book. I suppose I've always wanted to see my name in print (ever the good CS girl, my pen name was going to be Rosalie, which is a combination of my name and my mum's name :D ): but this is rather a shock.

Does this mean I'm famous :wink: ?

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 Post subject: Re: The CBB: Extract from 'The English Girls' School Story':
PostPosted: 06 Dec 2010, 12:41 
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This was great - really fascinting! I'm not looking for Tara to feel the need to defend her thesis, but I think there are loads of fascinating points raised.

Quote:
Most are highly educated, either postgraduate students or members of the professions; a surprising number are scientists


As a scientist :D (gosh look at me making a conscious performance of physical reality! Thank's Tara, this makes smileys so much less cheesy now!), this jumped out at me. There are a lot of scientists on this board, at least a lot of vocal members are scientists. Is this a surprising amount? I'm not sure we outnumber any other discipline/demographic

Or is this comment made in reference to the 'scientist' aspect being surprising, rather than the number of scientists? I suppose if you take the stereotypical, Spock-Vulcan view of scientist, one might be surprised a 'scientist' was reading, and writing, school stories. Or maybe it is because being a scientist is often synonymous with being cerebral and intelligent, and so an extension of the point about highly educated and/or professional people on the board (is this being used to validate the genre/series...? I know I use this angle whenever my SLOC mocks me for CBB activity).

I must say there is a higher density of PhDs on this board than I'd expected. I wonder what that says about me....?


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 Post subject: Re: The CBB: Extract from 'The English Girls' School Story':
PostPosted: 06 Dec 2010, 12:54 
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I'm vaguely tempted to start a CBB demographics poll in COT, but I'm not sure which categories to use to avoid leaving anyone out :lol: .

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 Post subject: Re: The CBB: Extract from 'The English Girls' School Story':
PostPosted: 06 Dec 2010, 13:18 
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If I were clever at computing/programming, I'd parse the site members profiles to see what people put as their occupation as a first point of call, and work on the categories from there...

but I'm not, so your civil liberties are safe, y'all!


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 Post subject: Re: The CBB: Extract from 'The English Girls' School Story':
PostPosted: 06 Dec 2010, 16:06 
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I'm going to try get my hands on a copy of your book after reading that extract. I found it extremely interesting. Just wanted to say well done.

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 Post subject: Re: The CBB: Extract from 'The English Girls' School Story':
PostPosted: 07 Dec 2010, 22:25 
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Quote:
I'm vaguely tempted to start a CBB demographics poll in COT, but I'm not sure which categories to use to avoid leaving anyone out


That would be interesting and or send out a survey. Look on recruitment websites for all the varying jobs. I would be really intrerested in seeing hiw this worked out. Thanks :-)


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 Post subject: Re: The CBB: Extract from 'The English Girls' School Story':
PostPosted: 08 Dec 2010, 00:38 
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Many thanks for all your encouraging comments; I really did appreciate them all. To reply to some of them:
Jayj, I couldn't agree more about 'women's writing' being a highly problematic concept, in fact the book goes on to question it deeply (with some lovely examples of people getting it badly wrong!). I think, as you say, there is an importance in writing that is by women, about women, for women, and for a long time school stories were one of the few places where one could find that. The main burden of my thesis is that women have (often quite unconsciously, I suspect) used a culturally acceptable form to write lit that is, in its subtext, actually subversive and empowering and that questions most of the accepted constructs of femininity and provides alternative forms of 'being' as a woman/girl. And, yes, I like 'archontic', too :D .

As for including the feedback (yes, Pado, it's quite terrifying), one thing I really like about Judith Butler's Gender Trouble is the way that she writes a foreword to each new edition in which she describes how her thinking has changed since the last one, and says which of her former arguments she no longer agrees with, often because they've been challenged by a reader who has managed to convince her! That's the trouble with writing things down, they're set in stone.

Tor, I admit to using a stereotype, but, given that many people would think all fanfiction and particularly the CBB quite insane, I think it is very sriking how academically well-qualified so many of the writers are. I also think, stereotype or not, that it isn't, as seen by those outside, the sort of activity one would expect a high-flying scientist to 'waste their time' with, and it just makes the point, for me, that there are much deeper things going on here than are at first apparent. How the numbers actuallly stack up, I haven't a clue, it's just an impression I've got.

KB, I appreciate that there are somewhat differing definitions of intertextuality, but I am using the Kristeva one (interdependence of texts, multiple ways in which a text is entangled with or contains references to other texts) rather than the Barthes (meaning resides in reader, not in work itself). The Wikipedia def: 'shaping of texts' meaning by other texts; an author's borrowing and transformation of a prior text or reader's referencing of one text in the reading of another' puts it quite nicely and sums up what we do on the board, both to EBD's work and to one another's. I think what Derrida is trying to say is that when the relationship is a close as it is in fanfiction, it becomes part of the whole sort of background package of the prior text.

Alison and Mary, of course you're there. You have both written such major (and interesting) pieces of fiction on the board that you had to be :D .

Edited because I can't spell!


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 Post subject: Re: The CBB: Extract from 'The English Girls' School Story':
PostPosted: 08 Dec 2010, 06:50 
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Tara wrote:
KB, I appreciate that there are somewhat differing definitions of intertextuality, but I am using the Kristeva one (interdependence of texts, multiple ways in which a text is entangled with or contains references to other texts) rather than the Barthes (meaning resides in reader, not in work itself). The Wikipedia def: 'shaping of texts' meaning by other texts; an author's borrowing and transformation of a prior text or reader's referencing of one text in the reading of another' puts it quite nicely and sums up what we do on the board, both to EBD's work and to one another's. I think what Derrida is trying to say is that when the relationship is a close as it is in fanfiction, it becomes part of the whole sort of background package of the prior text.


Thanks for the clarification. I'm now trying to imagine Derrida (or for that matter Kristeva, Bakhtin, Barthes or anyone else) trying to wrap their minds around the concept of fanfiction. :banghead: I suspect that would be as far as they get.

Considering the importance of the reader in fanfiction, and particularly the reader becoming the writer based so much on their reading of the text, I'm intrigued as to why you left out Barthes' views. It seems to me that it's one of few times (along with texts like diaries) when it becomes possible to see exactly how the reader understands and interprets the meaning of the text by what they reproduce. That said, it was fascinating to see the term used in any sense and give me a bit of a thrill/jolt as it's a key concept in my own PhD.

I also can't help wondering whether you make mention of fill-ins and, since that's something of my baby, what you might have said about them.

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 Post subject: Re: The CBB: Extract from 'The English Girls' School Story':
PostPosted: 11 Dec 2010, 13:17 
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Oops, sorry, KB, I didn't see this. Thank you for your very interesting comments. Yes, there's a lot more that could be said, but, in the context of my book, the fanfiction is just an aside, really - it didn't exist when I wrote the thesis on which the book is based. It's not 'about' that, or even about EBD, though she figures quite prominently, partly because she's so significant in terms of output, partly because I think she's brilliant (!). The book is about the genre as a whole. For the same two reasons (i.e. space, general relevance and that they were in their infancy when it was written), there is not a lot about the fill-ins. They are mentioned and flagged up, but not a lot more. Plenty of room for another book ...

What is your thesis about? It sounds really interesting.


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 Post subject: Re: The CBB: Extract from 'The English Girls' School Story':
PostPosted: 11 Dec 2010, 23:46 
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Ah, fair enough. And lovely that you get to write about something so interesting!

My thesis looks at diaries and the role of the reader and reader-response theory in understanding them. I'm looking at different ways of interpretation - genre theory, intertextuality and fictionality. I'm using the anonymous A Woman in Berlin as my example. I also have a creative piece, which is a diarised version of the Rosenstrasse protest.

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 Post subject: Re: The CBB: Extract from 'The English Girls' School Story':
PostPosted: 14 Dec 2010, 01:00 
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That is weird - I've just bought A Woman in Berlin on the recommendation of a friend. I shall now read it with a new level of interest. Enjoy your fascinating research.


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 Post subject: Re: The CBB: Extract from 'The English Girls' School Story':
PostPosted: 14 Dec 2010, 11:42 
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Thank you.

AWIB is wonderfully written, but extremely graphic and may be hard if you have problems with sexual assault. However it does give a fascinating insight into the world at that time, which is an era that has not been looked at all that much. If you have time, I would appreciate hearing what you think of it.

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