Name: Robin Diver
Thesis Title: 'Wonderful Stories for Kids': Rape and Sexual Violence in Children’s Anthologies of Greek Myth
This thesis builds on my previous work at Masters to examine children’s anthologies of Greek myth from 1850 to the present and analyse authorial strategies for retelling sexual violence. Anthologies of children’s Greek myths (e.g. Hawthorne, Coats) are published regularly, receive reviews stressing their importance to children’s education and are sometimes taught in schools. Their creation, however, necessitates reconciliation between the sexual violence prevalent in myth and the didactic aim of children’s tales.
My thesis will engage with the increasing body of research in the new field of classical receptions in children’s literature, particularly the Our Mythical Childhood project. It will explore both text and illustration, drawing on sociological research concerning the establishment of power structures and feminist research on sexual violence to interrogate the meaning present in these children’s texts. As well as contributing to growing discourse on classical literary reception, my thesis will have a wider relevance in that it will examine those elements challenging to the popular view of Greek myth as didactic. Anthologies of Greek myth are the first classical sexual violence many children will encounter, possibly even the first sexual violence they will read about, making them perhaps influential on general modern views about rape. My thesis raises questions about enjoyment of disturbing material, why children read books, the value of classics to them and if and how material needs to be adapted for audience.
The myths focused on in my thesis are as follows: Persephone, Europa, Daphne, Syrinx, Medusa and Io.
Supervisors and Institution(s):
Dr Philip Burton, University of Birmingham
Professor Helen Lovatt, University of Nottingham
Publications (please include full details with page nos. or web links):
Scholarly / Public Engagement Activities:
Publicity Officer at UoB PG Rosetta Journal: October 2016-October 2018.
Secretary at UoB MAC (Modern and Contemporary Forum): October 2017-present.
Book Reviews Editor at UoB PG Rosetta Journal: October 2017-present.
Conference Papers Delivered:
Tea with the Sphinx – Reception of Egypt’s Myth, Magic and Mysticism; 28th - 30th July 2018, Birmingham. Conference paper delivered – ‘Morality, Sex and the Other: A Comparison of Anthologies of Egyptian and Greek Myths for Children’.
Papers Delivered at Forums:
Other Research Interests:
Food studies in classics; how ancient and early Christian attitudes to food have shaped modern ones.
The adaptation of female mythological and classical figures in reception.
Women in classical Greece.