associationof ideas

Lydia Maria Child (1802-1880) began her career almost two centuries ago, and some of her writing is dated, yet some resonates today in odd ways. She address the contradiction in American society as to whether to conserve of consume with her association of ideas. Child also offered this thought: The United States is a warning rather than en example to the world.” This odd group including a bird, bees, a squirrel, a whale, a wax doll, and a horse appeared in “Fanny’s Menagerie,” Rainbows for Children (Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1847): 119-131. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

For a wanderer…

July 14, 2018

lax soul quote

“The soul cannot rest in the landscape, no matter how fine.” Words from “In the Beginning was Love: Contemplative Words of Robert Lax,” edited with an introduction by S. T. Georgiou (2015), design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

Notecard

red bird

Lydia Maria Child sought to reform with inherited literary genres. Rose Marian and the Flower Fairies is a translation of a German legend about a fifteen-year-old girl named Marian who lives in a verdant mountain community, and Marian who relates more to nature than to other humans. Bird drawing mounted on Japanese paper, by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

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yellow flower

Having no playmates, Marian talks to the flowers, “as if they were intelligent beings, that can understand her words (11).” When Marian’s mother dies, she perceives that she has become an angel, “gone to dwell with celestial beings (18).” Marian refuses to leave the side of her mother’s grave and the doctors soon observe, “If she keeps ever wakeful, and this profound melancholy continues, she will certainly become insane (23).” Flower drawing mounted on Japanese paper, by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

purple flower

The flowers seek to console Marian until a beautiful benevolent spirit came upon them smiling and said, “Beautiful and fragrant ones, be not afraid of me, I come to ask your assistance in conveying the good young princess to a happy home, where she will never more know trouble (24).” The flowers assist by giving up their fragrances to create a concoction that helped Marion to sleep eternally. Flower drawing mounted on Japanese paper, by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

With the Civil War, Child’s hard-hitting career was eclipsed, but her writing became more relevant as it holistically prescribe character development within divergent audiences. After Abraham Lincoln announced the drafting of an Emancipation Proclamation in late September 1862, Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) called on Mary Lincoln in New York City to request an invitation to the White House. Lincoln met Stowe and supposedly greeted her with the comment, “So you’re the little woman who made this Great War.” When news of the Emancipation Proclamation arrived on January 1, 1863, Stowe was attending a New Year’s Jubilee celebration at the Boston Music Hall. The crowd gave Stowe a standing ovation.

The Civil War changed the tone of all children’s literature to depict changing patriarchal gender roles as soldiers left wives and widows to head households. Post-bellum juvenile literature reflected new sensibilities as characteristics of “childhood” and attitudes towards what constituted “worthy poor” changed. Sentimental stories with absent father figures always featured a male figure, who appeared to rescue a disabled girl. Child’s stories, like Rose Marian and the Flower Fairies (1865) translated from a German legend presented a feminine, nature-centered view. In children’s literature, more sentimental concepts of girlhood and female adolescence emerged out of the Civil War. Northern publishers developed lucrative family markets; so American literature achieved an economic boost after the war. The phenomenon of girl and family stories (or domestic novels) written by female authors reflected the development of a middle-class domestic audience that became pivotal to American literary history. These authors projected their own desire for societal change into their juvenile female characters and subsequently on young readers.

Monkey camel

Do not try to ape your betters. “The Monkey and the Camel” by Aesop retold and illustrated by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

Upon the family’s return, there was a great celebration amongst the animals in honor of King Lion. Mimouka was asked to dance for the assembly and her dancing was very clever indeed. All of the animals were pleased with Mimouka’s grace and lightness so they gathered around her.

Such praise was showered on Mimouka that the Camel became envious. He was very sure that he could dance better than any monkey so he pushed his way into the crowd. The Camel raised himself up on his hind legs and began to dance, but he was so big and hulking that he only looked very ridiculous as he kicked out his knotty legs and twisted his long clumsy neck. The animals scurried about trying to keep from getting crushed under his heavy hoofs.

At last, when one of his huge hoofs came within an inch of King Lion’s nose, the animals were so disgusted that they set upon the Camel in a rage. Shortly afterward, refreshments, consisting mostly of Camel’s roasted hump and ribs, were served.

 

monkey1

Introducing Mimouka enjoying her favorite pastime at home, design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

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Mimouka selected for “Survivors’ Hub” series as No. 11 (2018).

Once upon a time, Mister Cat and a monkey named Mimouka lived as pets in the same household. They were at first great friends and enjoyed in all sorts of mischief together. They were simpatico in that they were both had gourmet tastes and they would seek roasted chestnuts by any means necessary.

One evening Mimouka and Mister Cat were sitting by the fire, watching some chestnuts roasting on the hearth. Mimouka put on her sweetest expression and cooed, “I would gladly get them, but you are much more skillful at such things than I am.” Mister Cat, ever cavalier, hesitated. Mimouka interjected “Pull them out and I’ll divide them between us.”

Mister Cat stretched out his paw very carefully, pushing aside some of the cinders, and drew back his paw very quickly. Then he tried it again, this time pulling a chestnut half out of the fire. A third time and he drew out the chestnut. He performed this feat several times, each time singeing his paw more severely. As fast as he pulled the chestnuts out of the fire, Mimouka let them cool to perfection then ate them up.

Now their human came in, and away chased the rascals away. Mister Cat with a burnt paw and no chestnuts learned his lesson. From that time on, they say, he contented himself with mice and rats and had little to do with Mimouka.

Monkey cat

The flatterer seeks some benefit at your expense. “The Monkey and the Cat” by Aesop retold and illustrated by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.