Rebirth in the Life and Works of Beatrix Potter

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About the Book

This work traces the concepts of initiation, transformation and rebirth though Beatrix Potter’s personal writings and her children’s fiction. Her letters and journals reveal attempts to escape from what she called her “unloved birthplace” and her overbearing parents. Potter felt that her life culminated in her forties, when she was, in effect, reborn through marriage as Mrs. William Heelis, a farmer raising Herdwick sheep and buying land for the National Trust.
From her first book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, through some of the last, such as The Fairy Caravan and The Tale of Little Pig Robinson, central characters undergo processes of initiation during which they mature toward adulthood. The most successful ones move from being helpless children to more mature creatures on their way to independence, while others experience no change or even regression.

About the Author(s)

Richard Tuerk is a professor emeritus of literature and languages at Texas A&M University-Commerce. He has written books about Henry David Thoreau and L. Frank Baum.

Bibliographic Details

Richard Tuerk
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 217
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8062-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3930-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
A Very Personal Preface 1
What to Call Beatrix Potter 5
An Introduction to the World of Beatrix Potter 7
Potter’s Realism 33
Fairies, Fairytales and Beatrix Potter 43
Potter’s Vocabulary and Readership Awareness 49
The Tale of Peter Rabbit 55
The Tailor of Gloucester 66
The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin 69
The Tale of Benjamin Bunny 76
The Tale of Two Bad Mice and The Tale of Mrs. ­Tiggy-Winkle 82
The Tale of the Pie and the ­Patty-Pan 88
The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher 94
The Story of a Fierce Bad Rabbit, The Story of Miss Moppet, and “The Sly Old Cat” 101
The Tale of Tom Kitten 105
The Tale of Jemima ­Puddle-Duck 109
The Tale of Samuel Whiskers or The ­Roly-Poly Pudding 114
The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies 122
The Tale of Ginger and Pickles 126
The Tale of Mrs. Tittlemouse 128
The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes 130
The Tale of Mr. Tod 134
The Tale of Pigling Bland 143
The Tale of Johnny ­Town-Mouse 147
The Fairy Caravan: Beatrix Potter’s Book for an American Audience 152
The Tale of Little Pig Robinson 159
Sister Anne 170
Three Posthumous Works: ­Wag-by-Wall, The Tale of the Faithful Dove, and The Tale of ­Kitty-in-Boots 177
A Very Personal Conclusion 182
Notes 189
Works Cited 199
Index 205

Book Reviews & Awards

• “Tuerk’s clear presentation of…ideas and his attention to both visual and verbal imagery in Potter’s tales makes this book well worth reading.”—Children’s Literature Association Quarterly

• “This book presents an original idea about Beatrix Potter that connects her in a new way to the great soup of stories. I highly recommend it for anyone who is interested in Beatrix Potter and her tales.”—Mythlore