en-fr  Pippi Longstocking and the subversive heroines children love.
Par Hephzibah Anderson le 18 avril 2018. http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/17 04 2018 Fifi Brindacier et l'héroïne subversive adorée des enfants.

l était une fois, longtemps avant que Goodnight Stories pour Rebel Girls ne mette de côté les princesses de contes de fées et ne les remplace par des pionnières telles que Ada Lovelace et Amélia Earhart, une héroïne de fiction idiosyncrasique qui se rebellait contre le sexisme dans la littérature enfantine, captivant les jeunes lecteurs partout dans le monde et leur montrant qu'il y avait plus d'une façon d'être une fille.

Avec ses tresses rouges et ses taches de rousseur, elle tordait le cou aux conventions sociales et avait du cran à revendre.

Elle était indépendante et d'une force légendaire - si forte qu'elle aurait pu soulever un cheval d'une seule main.

Elle était aussi en possession d'une fortune personnelle grâce à une cahette de pièces d'or, et, depuis la fin de ses neuf ans, vivait seule avec son singe et son cheval, libre de naviguer en haute mer et de danser avec les cambrioleurs.

Pas étonnant que des générations de petites filles aient désiré être à sa place, certaines d'entre nous le désirent encore.


Son nom, bien sûr, est Fifi Brindacier et comme une nouvelle et fascinante biographie le révèle, son infatigable créatrice Astrid Lindgren pourrait facilement se défendre parmi les stars des Rebel Girls.

Mère célibataire adolescente, avocate au franc-parler des droits des femmes et des enfants, engagée en tout, de l'environnementalisme au pacifisme : ce chemin n'était ni attendu ni facile pour une fille de fermier élevée dans une communauté pieuse et conservatrice des années 1920 en Suède.

Et pourtant, cela devint le chemin de Lindgren, comme Jens Andersen le montre dans Astrdi Lindgren : la femme qui est derrière Fifi Brindacier, traduit du suédois par Caroline Waight.

La petite Astrid était né écrivaine et avait hérité de sa mère, qui écrivait des poèmes lorsqu'elle avait le temps, d'un don pour raconter des histoires.

À l'adolescence, Astrid expérimenta le déguisement et découvrit le jazz.

Elle devint journaliste stagiaire dans le journal local à 17 ans, et à 18 ans, son patron marié âgé de 49 ans - père de sept enfants - la mit enceinte.

« Les filles sont tellement idiotes.

Personne n'avait jamais été vraiment amoureux de moi auparavant, et il l'était.

Alors bien sûr je trouvais ça plutôt excitant, » a-t-elle admis plus tard.

Lorsque son fils naquit, elle fut obligé de l'abandonner dans une famille d'accueil.

Le cœur brisé, elle essaya de gagner sa vie à Stockholm comme sténodactylo, et ce ne fut qu'en 1931, lorsqu'elle se maria, qu'elle fut capable de le récupérer.

Durant la Seconde Guerre mondiale, Lindgren travailla à la censure du courrier pour le gouvernement neutre de Suède.

C'était un "sale" travail, dit-elle, mais à la lueur optimiste de ce temps de paix, lorsque la fille qu'elle avait eu en 1934 fut alitée, malade, avec une pneumonie, elle imagina une alternative au fascisme, joyeuse et provocante.

Fifi est subversive, d'esprit libre, une vraie perturbatrice.

C'est également une solitaire, et il est difficile de croire qu'elle aurait été tout à fait la même si l'entrée dans l'âge adulte de Lindgren n'avait été si tumultueux.

Lindgren a continué à écrire de nombreux autres livres, scénarios et essais, apparaissant régulièrement dans les médias et devenant, finalement, un label international.

Et pourtant, c'est pour Fifi que l'on se souvient d'elle. Depuis la première publication de ses aventures en 1945, Fifi n'a jamais cessé d'être publié et demeure apprécié partout dans le monde.

De nos jours, la littérature pour enfants a mauvaise réputation lorsqu'il s'agit de personnages féminins.

Vous souvenez-vous de cette vidéo que l'équipe Rebel Girls a publiée ?

Titrée "Si vous avez une fille, vous devez regarder ça", elle évoquait avec vivacité les préjugés sexistes en montrant une mère et sa fille ôtant d'une étagère tous les livres qui ne comptait pas de personnages masculins (trois) puis ceux ne comportant pas de personnages féminins (141) et finalement ceux dont les personnages féminins étaient des princesses, laissant l'étagère presque vide.

Et pourtant Fifi n'est pas la seule icone féministe à traverser la masse des fictions et elle ne fut pas la première.

Environ un demi-siècle avant qu'elle ne prenne vie dans l'imagination de Lindgren, L Frank Baum utilisait le journal qu'il éditait à Aberdeen, dans le Dakota du sud, pour encourager les suffragettes américaines.

Lorsqu'il écrivit son conte désormais classique Le Magicien d'Oz, son héroïne féminine, Dorothy Gale, était pétrie de ses convictions, aussi bien que de son observation des fortes femmes pionnières croquant la vie dans les grandes plaines.

Comme les tornades et les affreuses sorcières auraient enchantée Nancy Blackett !

Nancy est ce que nous aurions autrefois appelé un garçon manqué.

Une marinière en guise de chemise, un short et une casquette de pirate, elle est aussi la fille d'une mère célibataire, ce qui pourrait expliquer son leadership et son ingéniosité.

Nancy apparaît dans neuf de la douzaine de romans qui composent la collection Hirondelles et Amazones d'Arthur Ransome.
Elle a permis aux lecteurs des années 1930 de savoir que de devenir femme au foyer n'était pas leur seule option.

Elle se serait probablement bien entendu avec Petrova Fossil, l'une des héroïnes de Ballet Shoes de Noel Streatfeild.

Ayant été abandonnée, ainsi que ses sœurs Pauline et Posy, par leur père adoptif, les jeunes filles découvrent qu'une puissante et réconfortante solidarité féminine les entoure.

Aidées tout au long de leur parcours par de nombreuses femmes, elles trouvent l'aventure et une indépendance financière à travers la danse classique et le théâtre.

Ou du moins, c'est le cas pour Pauline et Posy ; Petrova est plus heureuse avec sa tête à l'intérieur du capot d'une voiture et finalement devient pilote.


Ballet Shoes fut le premier roman de Streatfeild et quelques 80 ans plus tard, il demeure populaire, affirme JK Rowling à ses admirateurs (elle le relis encore, apparemment)

Madeline de Ludwig Bemelmans sait probablement comment sortir le meilleur d'une situation qui était loin d'être optimale.

She also has pluck in spades.

Bien qu'elle soit la plus petite des pensionnaires de Mademoiselle Clavel dans leur pensionnat Parisien recouvert de vigne-vierge, Madeleine adore la neige et la glace, n'a pas peur des souris et les tigres aux dents acérées du zoo disent simplement "Grrrr Grrrr".

Transportée en ambulance au milieu de la nuit pour une appendicite, elle représente son infortune dans une maison de poupée que lui envoie son papa absent et porte sa cicatrice avec une telle fierté que toutes ses amies de classe la lui envient.

Selon le petit-fils de Bemelman, Madeline était fondée sur l'auteur lui-même qui se considérait comme un tocard.

Yet what’s so refreshing about Madeline is that she doesn’t aspire to be an insider, one of the crowd.

In fact, in a group of 12 girls who move through their days like a synchronised swimming team, she alone stands out.

Virginia Lee Burton was born just a couple of years after Astrid Lindgren, yet her childhood couldn’t have been more different.

Raised in a Californian artists’ colony, she went on to found her own in Massachusetts, where she also wrote and illustrated a series of picture books including Katy and the Big Snow.

Its eponymous heroine is brave and utterly determined.

She’s “very big and very strong and she could do a lot of things”.

Katy also happens to be a caterpillar tractor – a female caterpillar tractor.

It took Thomas the Tank Engine until 2017 to begin addressing its gender imbalance but Katy debuted in 1943.

Though her two sons were the intended audience for all her children’s stories, the plucky machines that chug through their exquisitely designed pages are invariably female – look out, too, for Mary Anne the steam shovel and Maybelle the cable car.

Strong, tireless and independent, these female characters show the littlest readers that boys didn’t have a monopoly on big and strong.

But true equality confers the right to be less than impressive, too.

That’s what makes Louise Fitzhugh’s 1964 heroine so interesting.

Harriet of Harriet the Spy fame – or should that be notoriety? – is snarky, spiteful and entitled.

She’s the anti-Nancy Drew, scorning sweater sets and a desire to please for jeans and a tool belt.

Yet unlike so many classic heroines who came before her, she is not forced to repent.

More gossip than sleuth, she ends the novel having been schooled in tact but otherwise triumphantly flawed and wholly unrepentant.

The strengths and achievements of real-life women who’ve shaped our world are something that girls and boys both should be reading and dreaming about.

But fiction tells its own unique tales, and while there is always work to be done, a little rummaging through the stacks increasingly yields memorably liberated heroines to inspire young readers of all tastes.

From Judy Blume’s Sally J Freedman to Roald Dahl’s Matilda, Jacqueline Wilson’s Tracy Beaker and Andrea Beaty’s Rosie Revere, Engineer, their existence is thanks in no small part to Pippi and her pioneering pals.
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She was independent and legendarily strong – so strong she could lift a horse with one hand.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 1 week ago
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Little wonder successive generations of girls wanted to be her – some of us still do.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 3 weeks ago
unit 11
As a teenager, Astrid experimented with cross-dressing and discovered jazz.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 1 week ago
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“Girls are so silly.
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Nobody had ever been seriously in love with me before, and he was.
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So of course I thought it was rather thrilling,” she later admitted.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 1 week ago
unit 16
When her son was born, she was forced to leave him with a foster family.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 1 week ago
unit 18
During World War Two, Lindgren worked censoring mail for the neutral Swedish government.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 1 week ago
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Pippi is subversive and free-spirited, a true disruptor.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 1 week ago
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Yet it’s Pippi for whom she is remembered.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 1 week ago
unit 25
These days, children’s literature gets a bad rap when it comes to female characters.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 1 week ago
unit 26
Remember that video the Rebel Girls team released?.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 6 months, 1 week ago
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How tornadoes and wicked witches would have thrilled Nancy Blackett!
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 4 weeks ago
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Nancy is what would once have been called a tomboy.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 4 weeks ago
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She let readers of the 1930s know that girly domesticity wasn’t their only option.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 5 months, 4 weeks ago
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She also has pluck in spades.
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Its eponymous heroine is brave and utterly determined.
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She’s “very big and very strong and she could do a lot of things”.
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But true equality confers the right to be less than impressive, too.
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That’s what makes Louise Fitzhugh’s 1964 heroine so interesting.
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Harriet of Harriet the Spy fame – or should that be notoriety?
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– is snarky, spiteful and entitled.
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pamblard • 3695  commented on  unit 22  6 months, 1 week ago
pamblard • 3695  commented on  unit 2  6 months, 1 week ago

By Hephzibah Anderson 18 April 2018.

http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20180417-pippi-longstocking-and-the-subversive-heroines-children-love.

Once upon a time, long before Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls elbowed aside fairy-tale princesses and replaced them with inspirational trailblazers like Ada Lovelace and Amelia Earhart, an idiosyncratic fictional heroine was rebelling against sexism in children’s literature, captivating young readers around the world and showing them that there was more than one way of being a girl.

With her red plaits and freckles, she thumbed her nose at social conventions and had moxie to spare.

She was independent and legendarily strong – so strong she could lift a horse with one hand.

She was also in possession of a private income thanks to a stash of gold coins, and, at all of nine years old, lived alone with her monkey and horse, freeing her to sail the high seas and boogie with burglars.

Little wonder successive generations of girls wanted to be her – some of us still do.

Her name, of course, is Pippi Longstocking, and as a fascinating new biography reveals, her indefatigable creator Astrid Lindgren could easily hold her own among the stars of Rebel Girls.

Unmarried teen mum, outspoken advocate of the rights of women and children, campaigner for everything from environmentalism to pacifism: this was a path neither expected nor easy for a farmer’s daughter raised in a pious, conservative community in 1920s Sweden.

And yet it became Lindgren’s path, as Jens Andersen shows in Astrid Lindgren: The Woman Behind Pippi Longstocking, translated from Swedish by Caroline Waight.

Little Astrid was a natural storyteller and inherited a gift for language from her mother, who wrote poems when she had the time.

As a teenager, Astrid experimented with cross-dressing and discovered jazz.

She became a trainee journalist on the local newspaper at 17, and when she was 18, her 49-year-old married boss – a father of seven – got her pregnant.

“Girls are so silly.

Nobody had ever been seriously in love with me before, and he was.

So of course I thought it was rather thrilling,” she later admitted.

When her son was born, she was forced to leave him with a foster family.

Heartbroken, she tried to earn a living in Stockholm as a stenographer, and it wasn’t until 1931, when she married, that she was finally able to reclaim him.

During World War Two, Lindgren worked censoring mail for the neutral Swedish government.

It was, she said, a ‘dirty’ job, but in the optimistic light of peacetime, when the daughter she’d gone on to have in 1934 was ill in bed with pneumonia, she dreamt up a joyously defiant counterpoint to fascism.

Pippi is subversive and free-spirited, a true disruptor.

She is also a loner and it’s hard to believe she’d have been quite the same had Lindgren’s early adulthood not been quite so tumultuous.

Lindgren went on to write many other books, screenplays and essays, regularly appearing in the media and ultimately becoming a global brand.

Yet it’s Pippi for whom she is remembered. Since the first instalment of her adventures was published in 1945, Pippi has never been out of print, and remains internationally beloved.

These days, children’s literature gets a bad rap when it comes to female characters.

Remember that video the Rebel Girls team released?.

Headlined ‘If you have a daughter, you need to see this’, it vividly called out gender bias by showing a mother-daughter team removing from a shelf all the books that had no male characters (three) then all the books with no female characters (141), and finally those whose female characters were princesses, leaving the shelf almost bare.

And yet Pippi isn’t the only feminist icon hanging out in the fiction stacks – nor was she the first.

Almost half a century before she sprang to life in Lindgren’s imagination, L Frank Baum was using the newspaper he edited in Aberdeen, South Dakota, to cheer on America’s suffragettes.

When he wrote his now-classic tale The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, its girl heroine, Dorothy Gale, was shaped by his beliefs, as well as by his observations of strong pioneer women weathering life on the Great Plains.

How tornadoes and wicked witches would have thrilled Nancy Blackett!

Nancy is what would once have been called a tomboy.

A deft sailor kitted out in shirt, shorts and pirate cap, she’s also the daughter of a single mum, which might account for her leadership skills and resourcefulness.

Nancy appears in nine of the dozen novels that make up Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons series
.
She let readers of the 1930s know that girly domesticity wasn’t their only option.

She’d likely have hit it off with Petrova Fossil, one of the heroines of Noel Streatfeild’s Ballet Shoes.

Having been abandoned, along with her sisters Pauline and Posy, by their adoptive father, the girls discover that a powerful and supportive sisterhood surrounds them.

Helped along by various women, they find adventure and financial independence through ballet and acting.

Or at least, Pauline and Posy do; Petrova is happiest with her head inside the bonnet of a car, and eventually becomes a pilot.

Ballet Shoes was Streatfeild’s debut novel and some 80 years later, it remains popular, claiming JK Rowling among its fans (she still rereads it, apparently).

Ludwig Bemelmans’ Madeline certainly knows how to wring the best from a less than optimal situation.

She also has pluck in spades.

Despite being the littlest of Miss Clavel’s charges in their vine-covered Parisian boarding school, Madeline loves snow and ice, isn’t scared of mice, and to the sharp-toothed tigers at the zoo says simply “pooh pooh”.

Borne off by ambulance in the middle of the night for an appendectomy, she parlays her misfortune into a dolls’ house sent by her otherwise absent pa, and wears her scar with such pride that it becomes the envy of her classmates.

Acccording to Bemelmans’ grandson, Madeline was based on the author himself, who always felt like an outsider.

Yet what’s so refreshing about Madeline is that she doesn’t aspire to be an insider, one of the crowd.

In fact, in a group of 12 girls who move through their days like a synchronised swimming team, she alone stands out.

Virginia Lee Burton was born just a couple of years after Astrid Lindgren, yet her childhood couldn’t have been more different.

Raised in a Californian artists’ colony, she went on to found her own in Massachusetts, where she also wrote and illustrated a series of picture books including Katy and the Big Snow.

Its eponymous heroine is brave and utterly determined.

She’s “very big and very strong and she could do a lot of things”.

Katy also happens to be a caterpillar tractor – a female caterpillar tractor.

It took Thomas the Tank Engine until 2017 to begin addressing its gender imbalance but Katy debuted in 1943.

Though her two sons were the intended audience for all her children’s stories, the plucky machines that chug through their exquisitely designed pages are invariably female – look out, too, for Mary Anne the steam shovel and Maybelle the cable car.

Strong, tireless and independent, these female characters show the littlest readers that boys didn’t have a monopoly on big and strong.

But true equality confers the right to be less than impressive, too.

That’s what makes Louise Fitzhugh’s 1964 heroine so interesting.

Harriet of Harriet the Spy fame – or should that be notoriety? – is snarky, spiteful and entitled.

She’s the anti-Nancy Drew, scorning sweater sets and a desire to please for jeans and a tool belt.

Yet unlike so many classic heroines who came before her, she is not forced to repent.

More gossip than sleuth, she ends the novel having been schooled in tact but otherwise triumphantly flawed and wholly unrepentant.

The strengths and achievements of real-life women who’ve shaped our world are something that girls and boys both should be reading and dreaming about.

But fiction tells its own unique tales, and while there is always work to be done, a little rummaging through the stacks increasingly yields memorably liberated heroines to inspire young readers of all tastes.

From Judy Blume’s Sally J Freedman to Roald Dahl’s Matilda, Jacqueline Wilson’s Tracy Beaker and Andrea Beaty’s Rosie Revere, Engineer, their existence is thanks in no small part to Pippi and her pioneering pals.