Lathey, Gillian 1949-

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article
views updated

LATHEY, Gillian 1949-

PERSONAL: Born May 28, 1949, in Morley, England; female. Education: University of London, B.A. (German; with honors), 1971, M.A. (German literature), 1976; University of Surrey, Ph.D. (children's literature), 1997. Hobbies and other interests: Piano, swimming, ballet.

ADDRESSES: Office—National Center for Research in Children's Literature, University of Surrey Roehampton, Digby Stuart College, Roehampton Ln., London SW15 5PH, England; fax: 020 8392 3819. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER: University of Surrey Roehampton, London, England, senior lecturer in language in education, 1990-99, deputy director of National Centre for Research in Children's Literature, 1999—. Marsh Award for Children's Literature in Translation, administrator.

WRITINGS:

The Impossible Legacy: Identity and Purpose in Autobiographical Children's Literature Set in the Third Reich and the Second World War, Peter Lang (New York, NY), 1999.

Contributor to The Early Years: A Reader, edited by Sandra Smidt, Routledge (London, England), 1998; The Literate Classroom, edited by P. Goodwin, David Fulton (London, England), 1999; German-speaking Exiles in Great Britain: The Yearbook of the Research Centre for German and Austrian Exile Studies, Volume 2, edited by A. Grenville, Rodolpi (Atlanta, GA), 2000; and Children's Literature and National Identity, edited by M. Meek, Trentham (Stoke on Trent, England), 2001. Also contributor to Signal.

WORK IN PROGRESS: Translation of children's literature; research on "the hiatus in the childhood reading of German-Jewish children who came to Britain in 1933-45, and the impact of the work of exiled illustrators on British children's literature."

SIDELIGHTS: Gillian Lathey told CA: "While studying modern languages at school and university I began the love affair with the German language, literature, and people that has enriched my personal life and had such a tenacious influence on my teaching and writing career. The many happy years I spent as an infant-school teacher, a period of work in a German bookshop and postgraduate study of German literature all came together in my current work research into the translation of children's books, particularly from German. As deputy director of the National Centre for Research in Children's Literature at the University of Surrey, Roehampton, England, I teach a course on translated children's literature and continue to pursue the often puzzling cross-cultural connections in children's literature. As a practical contribution to this area, I also convene the judges for the Marsh Award for Children's Literature in Translation, founded to reverse the decline in the publication of translated children's books in Britain.

"The Impossible Legacy was written for a British audience in an attempt to promote an understanding of the complexities of the legacy inherited by writers who were children during the Third Reich and the Second World War. In a comparative study, I explore purpose and identity in the revision of wartime childhoods by German, Jewish and British authors addressing a child or adolescent audience. Autobiographical children's literature set in the Third Reich and World War II and published between 1970 and 1995 reflects the general reassessment of the past taking place at that time at personal and national levels. For many authors the legacy of the war years presents narrative dilemmas. How, for example, does a German writer record the heady excitement of Hitler youth rallies and marches in a manner which fulfils the didactic purpose expected of any book set in the Third Reich? Is the therapeutic purpose so evident in the work of exiled Jewish writers echoed in all accounts of childhood wartime evacuation, and is a sense of nostalgia exclusive to British texts? In passing childhood stories on to the next generation, each writer addresses such questions in the selection of content and control of narrative perspective."