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A Narrative Compass

Stories That Guide Women's Lives

Exploring the narratives that orient the lives of women scholars

Each of us has a narrative compass, a story that has guided our lifework. In this extraordinary collection, women scholars from a variety of disciplines identify and examine the stories that have inspired them, haunted them, and shaped their research, from Little House on the Prairie to Little Women, from the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland to Nancy Drew, Mary Jane, and even the Chinese memoir Jottings from the Transcendant's Abode at Mt. Youtai. Telling the "story of her story" leads each of the essayists to insights about her own approach to studying narratives and to a deeper, often surprising, understanding of the power of imagination.

Contributors are Deyonne Bryant, Minjie Chen, Cindy L. Christiansen, Beverly Lyon Clark, Karen Coats, Wendy Doniger, Bonnie Glass-Coffin, Betsy Hearne, Joanna Hearne, Ann Hendricks, Rania Huntington, Christine A. Jenkins, Kimberly J. Lau, Pamela Riney-Kehrberg, Maria Tatar, Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, Roberta Seelinger Trites, Claudia Quintero Ulloa, and Ofelia Zepeda.

"In each elegant interpretation, the author traces the ripple effects of a story that thrilled or provoked her, a story that became a catalyst for a lifelong passion, and a story that became a virtual home, to return to for clarification. Rich and mind-opening testimony to the profound, even chthonic power of tales well told."--Booklist

"A uniformly stellar volume."--Children's Literature Association Quarterly

"Rich and inspiring."--Research on Children's Literature

"Beautifully written, exquisite in conception, and full of substance."--Shirley Brice Heath, author of Ways with Words: Language, Life, and Work in Communities and Classrooms

"Never before have I read such insightful and unique accounts about the power of books in determining the paths that we take in our lives. These extraordinary stories are counter-narratives to the dominant male discourse of academia, revealing how academia has benefited from stories that it has sought to exclude."--Jack Zipes, author of Why Fairy Tales Stick: The Evolution and Relevance of a Genre

"The essayists in this thoughtful collection reflect upon the diverse stories that were influential as they journeyed toward lives of achievement. These stories about stories engage the reader and invite meditation on our own narrative compasses."--Judy Nolte Temple, professor of women's studies and English, University of Arizona

"This compelling and memorable collection is impressive in the range of works discussed, the diversity of voices and disciplinary perspectives, the depth of autobiograhical exploration and reflection, and the lucidity and thoughtfulness of the essays."--Jan Zlotnik Schmidt, editor of Women/Writing/Teaching

Betsy Hearne is the former director of the Center for Children's Books and a professor emerita in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Roberta Seelinger Trites is a professor of English at Illinois State University.

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