Behind the Headlines|REWRITES: Necessity or Travesty?
Wednesday, 5 April 2023, 6:30 – 8:30pm
A hybrid panel discussion featuring Dr Jane Suzanne Carroll (TCD), Dr David Kenny (TCD), Dr Martina Devlin, and Dr Nicholas Johnson (TCD) organised by the Trinity Long Room Hub.
With the recent news that publishers Puffin and the Roald Dahl Story Company have decided to rewrite potentially sensitive or offensive elements of the popular children’s books, our Behind the Headlines panel considers whether languages, images, and texts should be altered to suit the times, and what else is ‘subject to change’?
While some may argue that rewriting books amounts to a threat to literary expression—a throwback to ‘book banning’ or even censorship—others will point to the fact that works of fiction are being adapted all the time, based on the norms of the moment. And children’s books are not the only texts that are under revision; we expand our discussion to constitutional law and to the world of theatre as our panel considers how we can protect the integrity of a text throughout the ages.
Jane Suzanne Carroll is an Ussher Associate Professor in Children's Literature at Trinity College Dublin. Her teaching and research interests centre on children’s literature, landscape, and material culture in children’s fiction. Her latest book is British Children’s Literature and Material Culture: Commodities and Consumption, 1850-1914.
Dr David Kenny is an Associate Professor of Law and Fellow at Trinity College Dublin, teaching and researching Irish and comparative constitutional law and law and literature. He has been involved with various constitutional reform processes in Ireland, giving evidence to, amongst other bodies, the Citizens' Assembly and Oireachtas Committee on the 8th amendment. He has also been involved in constitutional futures and/or constitutional mapping projects in the Northern Ireland, the Korean Peninsula, and Ukraine.
Martina Devlin is an author and journalist. She has written eight novels, a collection of short stories, two non-fiction books and two plays. Her latest book is Edith: A Novel about the Irish R.M. co-author Edith Somerville, set against a backdrop of the War of Independence. She writes a weekly current affairs column for the Irish Independent and has been named National Newspapers of Ireland commentator of the year. She is the first holder of a PhD in literary practice from Trinity College Dublin.
Nicholas Johnson is Associate Professor of Drama at Trinity College Dublin, where he has worked full-time since 2008. He co-founded the Trinity Centre for Beckett Studies, within which he co-directs the Beckett Summer School and the Samuel Beckett Laboratory. With Jonathan Heron (Warwick), he co-authored the monograph "Experimental Beckett" (Cambridge UP, 2020) and co-edited the "Performance Issue" (23.1, 2014) and "Pedagogy Issue" (29.1, 2020) of the Journal of Beckett Studies.
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The Trinity Long Room Hub Behind the Headlines series is supported by the John Pollard Foundation.
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