Focus on Children’s Literature
Dr. Hunt Tooley Austin College professor of history, will discuss “From Mametz Wood to 100 Aker Wood: Trenches, Trauma, and the Great War Legacy of Children’s Literature” on October 2 at 5 p.m. in Mabee Hall of Wright Campus Center. A 4:30 p.m. reception, also in Mabee Hall, will precede the lecture. The events, part of the Sabbatical Lecture Series sponsored by the Johnson Center for Faculty Development and Excellence in Teaching, are free and open to the public.
Tooley is a historian of the modern world who specializes in issues of war, revolution, and peacemaking. His most recent book is The Great War: Western Front and Home Front (Palgrave, 2016).
Tooley said that people often associate the battle trauma of World War I with the “Lost Generation” authors and artists who eloquently depicted the dehumanizing nature of the war in the 1920s and 1930s.
“My talk focuses on another set of authors who suffered exactly the same experience in the Great War, the founders of a great deal of modern children’s literature,” Tooley went on.
“From A. A. Milne (Winnie the Pooh) to H. A. Rey (Curious George), these authors seem to have taken a very different approach to the “narrativization” of war traumas to build fictional worlds where sympathy, helpfulness, honor, and creativity prevailed,” Tooley said. “In the talk, I will explore this apparent paradox in part by drawing on modern psychological and literary scholarship devoted to trauma, narrative, memory, and resilience.”
The historian said this lecture highlights material from an article he is in the process of writing. The topic is one he stumbled across many years ago and dealt with briefly in his book The Great War. This lecture and article expand upon Tooley’s earlier studies, and he did some related archival research while in Washington, D.C., and Geneva, Switzerland, during his spring 2018 sabbatical, which was primarily in study for a project about the internment of enemy aliens across the world during World War I. He also traveled to Austria for study on the topic.
The Sabbatical Lecture Series is presented by Austin College’s Robert and Joyce Johnson Center for Faculty Development and Excellence in Teaching, directed by Randi Tanglen, associate professor of English. Within the mission of the center is the encouragement of “bold exploration of intellectual frontiers” and “fostering lively intellectual dialogue within and across academic disciplines.”
The Johnson Center schedules a number of events throughout the year, with presentations by Austin College faculty and guest lecturers.
Austin College, a private national liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas, has earned a reputation for excellence in academic preparation, international study, pre-professional foundations, leadership development, committed faculty, and hands-on, adventurous learning opportunities. One of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives, Austin College boasts a welcoming community that embraces diversity and individuality, with more than 50 percent of students identifying as persons of color. The residential student body of approximately 1,300 students and more than 100 expert faculty members allow a 13:1 student-faculty ratio and personalized attention. This year, the campus recognizes 100 years of co-education and has had several opportunities to recognize the history of women and accomplishments of current alumnae. Austin College is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA) and cultivates an inclusive atmosphere that supports students’ faith journeys regardless of religious tradition. Founded in 1849, the College is the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original name and charter.