#8 Visual/Verbal Relations in Illustrated Children's Books

Ulrich C. Knoepflmacher, Ph.D.

Uli Knoepflmacher, Ph.D., the Paton Foundation Professor Emeritus of Ancient and Modern Literature, retired from Princeton’s English department in 2007.  He has authored, edited, or co-edited a dozen books in both 19th C British literature and children’s literature, and has written over a hundred articles in these two fields.  His children’s book, “Franny, Randy, and the Over-the-Edge Cat Person”, appeared in 2009, and his edition of “Victorian Hybridities:  Cultural Anxiety and Formal Innovation” in 2010.  Among his recent articles are “Children’s Texts and the Grownup Reader” (2009) and “Oscar Wilde at Toad Hall” (2010), and “Boy-Orphans, Mesmeric Villians and Film Stars: Inscribing ‘Oliver Twist’ into ‘Treasure Island’” (2011), and “Kipling as Browning: from Parody to Translation” (2012).

March 2, 2017 - 9:00 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Ulrich C. Knoepflmacher, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Department of English

Picture books are hybrid texts that can lure children and grownups as joint participants in the pleasurable experience of an unfolding visual and verbal narrative.  This seminar will examine books authored by writer-illustrators whose creation of different kinds of text-image relationships raises some larger questions.  Do pictures merely complement a text or do they offer an altogether different dimension of meaning?  When and how do the responses of a child viewer overlap with those of an adult reader?  When and how are their responses at odds?  

We shall start with a close analysis of Maurice Sendak’s masterpiece Where the Wild Things Are before we discuss his brilliant but problematic Higglety, Pigglety, Pop!  We shall then turn to two more recent texts:  Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann and Franny, Randy and The Over-the-Edge Cat Person by a Princeton author/illustrator who will welcome your scrutiny.   If time permits, we may end with a brief look at samples from earlier writer/illustrators such as Rudyard Kipling and William Blake.