Illness and disability in Elinor M. Brent-Dyer's Chalet School stories

Choong, C. (2018) Illness and disability in Elinor M. Brent-Dyer's Chalet School stories. In: International Centre for Victorian Women Writers: Fifth International Conference: 1920s and 1930s, 16th-17th July, 2018, Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury, UK. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

As other scholars have noted, Brent-Dyer makes good use of the “illness/injury” plot device throughout her long series of Chalet School stories in order to symbolise a process of character change. Illness, disability or injury are used as catalysts to enable ‘difficult’ characters to reform. In addition, Brent-Dyer occasionally, particularly in the character of The Robin, employs the trope of the purity and innocence of sick children.

In this paper, I discuss Brent-Dyer’s use of these ideas in the pre-war Chalet School stories, including thoughts on how her own life story may have influenced this aspect of her writing. I examine the positive and negative implications of the ways in which Brent-Dyer employs ideas of illness and disability, and how this may have affected my own reading of her Chalet School books as a child and young adult living with chronic ill health.

In addition, I aim to explore the idea of books, and the Chalet School stories in particular, as sanctuary, and to briefly give some thought as to why Brent-Dyer’s attitudes to health and illness may have changed after the Second World War.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology > HV0888 Children with disabilities
L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC1390 Education of special classes of persons > LC3950 Exceptional children and youth. Special education > LC4001 Children and youth with disabilities
P Language and Literature > PR English Literature
P Language and Literature > PR English Literature > PR0111 Women authors
P Language and Literature > PZ Children's literature
Divisions: Library Services
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Mrs Claire Choong
Date Deposited: 18 Jul 2018 09:02
Last Modified: 18 Jul 2018 09:02
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/17460

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00