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SUNY Maritime College ​welcome to the close reading cooperative I'm fern Kory I'm a professor of English here at Eastern Illinois University I'm Kaila Jain blue I'm a student here at Eastern I'm a senior English education major we're here to talk about para texts para techs are not to be confused apparent taxes which Susie Park talked about a few podcasts ago that's a sentence level stylistic feature this is something else to give you a sense of what pair of texts are we're going to start with a little story and because kayla was there is she's going to tell the story right um in my Senior Seminar class in English 4300 we were reading this book the bloody chamber by Angela Carter and one of the my fellow students noticed that there's a devilish recreation of the classic penguin icon on the cover and some of the students in class had noticed it and some of us hadn't but what we realized was that's very much part of the text and the nice thing they noticed in dr. Hoberman told me about this when we met in the grocery store and talked about it is that students had been in my young adult literature class who did notice it mm-hmm and this is close reading of a different kind I mean to notice that kind of feature it's not the part that English majors are used to looking at which is the text so this is actually something maybe just regular readers are more alert to than English majors so it seems like it's worth talking about we're gonna start by looking going to the OED because that's what we do the Oxford English Dictionary to look at what pair of texts are how we want to define that parrot texts have has a Greek root para which we see in words like parallel or paraphrase it has a cluster of meanings there mostly means sort of along side or beside and you think about parallel lines they're not these lines are not the same but you know they run along the same course or smell like a pair of phrase which is not the same as the original that sort of you know goes along the same lines there's also the medical use of the word which is actually closer which means in the proximity of and so pair of texts are those things that are in the proximity of the text and they're going to be things that serve the text in one way or another this concept was has been written about most extensively by Gerard genette in a book which in its English translation is called paratext the thresholds of interpretation and it's defined in this book as on the back of this book which is one of its paratext as liminal devices and conventions both within and outside the book that form part of the complex mediation between book author publisher and reader titles for words epigraphs and publishers jacket copy are part of a books private and public history and we want to talk a little bit about how these are useful to students of literature and to scholars of literature and to start partly by saying that it's not all that surprising in a way that it came up that parrot X came up in a class in young adult literature if even if they haven't come up in other literature classes that you take because in a lot of literature classes most of the text reader in anthologies the anthology is in fact a place where texts go to die but there they are I mean these are decontextualized texts that what you don't have in an anthology are the pair of texts that you have sometimes not even the whole text but you certainly don't have front cover back cover jacket copy that kind of thing in a young adult literature class you are more likely to read what we call trade books you know books but that go directly to the reader that they're being marketed to readers and you think about this I mean you know Kayla when you when you pick up a book what do you do well first thing I do is look at the front cover um looking at this print cover you see there's a book award on there a sticker because that means it's got to be important somebody else liked it at least and oftentimes I flip it over to the back cover you'll have a summary or as you do on here reviews by different authors or publications and that might give you some insight to the book and lets you know what you're going to be reading so we're going to give a few examples of to give you a sense of sort of what you can do with this I mean in the case of the bloody chamber I know that the class speculated on what it might mean I mean why it was important enough to actually do something to that icon to actually indicate to readers you know what might be going on there and we're going to start with example of a a classic a classic not canonical but a classic work forever by Judy Blume and this is an early paperback edition of this book which is about what's this right here it's a moving story of the end of innocence its 1975 book and so you know kale if you if you looked at that cover but what does that cover trying to tell you about what's in that book interesting and interestingly enough it tells me that it's about a young woman the locket suggests enduring qualities obviously the cover is forever the title and probably gonna be about romance that is totally true there's also as we both observed a little dissonance between between the cover and what the book is about I mean the book is also a book about a first sexual experience there's really not a lot except the word innocence on the cover not to suggest it I don't think you would know that and there may be some interesting reasons why that's true why this book wasn't marketed as a book about sex not during its original publication not in the 1970s because I think I mean they're always at least two distinct


markets for a work of young adult fiction one is an adult readers and the other is gatekeepers parents librarians teachers the people who are going critics reviewers any people going to decide whether this is okay for kids there is that this book does in fact have enduring qualities the book is still in print and there's a recent hardback edition and this is an this is an in-between Indian edition there's also a recent hardback edition which we will show you but you want to describe what you see on the cover and what you think that tells us right what's going on in this book well it's certainly a lot different from the original cover you see no faces but you do see two sets of feet dangling off the the bed and one is male and one is female and so right away you'd know from the cover this is going to be about a sexual experience or at least you know learning about sexual experiences at a young age and the fact that it's so marketed with that right out in front of you on the front cover the first thing you see is a big change from the original publication clearly social changes have taken place and they're they're so extreme that even for marketing this book that it's apparently okay for a kid to be carrying this book around to be seen by peers to have it in their home either that or the gatekeepers are really losing ground which is another possibility yes in this case and that the young adult readers have a lot more power than they used to there's also another feature of this early edition of the book that whenever I bring my students over here to the Ballantrae teacher-centered booth library they always comment on these little guys you want to talk about that just a little bit our little teddy bear stickers now you don't always think teddy bear juvenile fiction but here this has become associated with it here the Ballinger teacher center and it might not be appropriate for every book in the Ballinger teacher center perhaps not even for forever but one upon a time along the lines they decided that that teddy bear was gonna mean juvenile fiction and now we've had some changes between children's books middle level books and young adult literature and the teddy bear is stamped on all of them no matter what the level age I mean like like look at the different covers I mean this is an artifact of the history of the development of young adult literature at early 20th century in the 20s that was the first time we even had children's divisions of publishers before that mark twain louisa may alcott 19th century writers they just sent things off to their publisher the same people who publish their adult works this is this is a different kind of thing and over the course of the 20th century we have subdivided that audience into different markets so now people into a book story that you'll see young adult books have been pulled out from the children's books but you'll also see leftover parts of that history the major journals in my field are called children's literature even you'd write about yeah I know they turn everything over there and you get these adorable little tempers on books like we were talking about this before The Book Thief by Markus is a sneak attack just narrated by death set during the Holocaust books with a fair amount of sexual content so I mean you see these artifacts they tell us something about literary history and it's a little easier to see that the further back in history you go one of the books that I've been researching and writing about lately is call me Charlie it's 1945 book by an african-american writer not a whole lot of african-american writers for young people in 1945 we're gonna look at in this case is the back of the book and what you notice here what I will point out to you is that there is a picture of the author which is relatively unusual thing to see on the back of a book I think of that more is it sort of inside back cover maybe it's really certainly not obligatory and then a certain amount of text about him we get Judy Blume she's big enough she gets a picture but you what I will tell you is that if you've looked at enough books for the period and throughout history is it as way more common to have a picture of an author if the author is an author of color I mean one of the things this is telling you is that this author knows what he is talking about and the jacket copy or the back cover copy plays along with that that tells us he was born in Columbus Ohio and as a youth lived much as Charles Moss lives in call me Charlie he attended Ohio State University where he learned to box he's worked in summer camps youth agencies has attended the Writers Conference at bread-loaf everything on the back cover is intended to tell you that this book is going to work and you're gonna or that this that the author has the authority cultural authority to write this book that he knows enough about boys that he's himself a real boy and this is all part of a particular cultural moment when right after World War two it seems like a good idea to have more authenticity and authority became more it was crystal clear at the end of World War two why what what the what sort of the results of discrimination might be so Ursula Nordstrom the most famous editor of her time for juvenile fiction was looking for looking for specifically a black author to write a book about a black boy growing up and she asked Richard Wright who turned him down he actually also published with Herbert um black boy that same year for the adult division and she met this guy at a party she met Jesse Jackson it's not the one you're thinking about she met him at a party and asked him to write it so I mean this book contains was in it a particular cultural history and we look at in terms of the way it's marketed that tells us something about the market it tells us something about the audience I just noticed this morning actually this is a book that I took home because I want to read it it's called Mexican white boy but I'm at de la pena and when as I do we opened up to the inside flap we see there is a picture of this nice young man who wrote this book and we see that he is young which like being good at sports or something is something young readers of


young adult fiction might want we know that his first book won some awards and will soon be a major motion picture he attended the University of the Pacific on a basketball scholarship and went on to earn a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing a San Diego State lives in Brooklyn teaches creative writing the copy for this book of what we would now call multicultural literature what are called intercultural back in the 40s follows very much the same lines I mean there are ways in which things have changed a lot as we see looking at the covers of forever there ways in which things haven't changed all that much so I mean these are just a few examples of the way attention to parts of the book you may not think of as part of the text as something that you can read closely might be useful to you as a student of literature as a scholar and because we've been talking about youth literature well ask Hale attend by giving a sort of the moral the moral of the story the moral of the story is that we're bringing these things together in our classes something that I've learned from dr. Corey comes into play in another class especially a capstone class such as your Senior Seminar and hopefully then students like myself will be taking it into their career fields our classes are not intended to be watertight compartments you are allowed to take tools that you've you have learned about in there that are useful there into other into other places and then you'll become you know among our favorite our very favorite students so that's all we've got thanks so much CUNY Community Colleges.

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