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Noah’s Ark And Mrs. Monkey

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Chapter Summary

This chapter traces the interpretation of the flood story in children's literature, from the apparently literal versions, in which imaginative reinterpretation is transferred to the illustrations, to the non-verbal crowded scenes of Peter Spier, the Midrashic retellings of Scholem Asch and Marc Gellman, feminist readings, like those of Bach and Exum, Madeleine L'Engle's teen novel, and versions which stress the annihilatory implications, including Janisch and Zwerger's Noah's Ark. The proliferation of Noah stories- there must be thousands-testifies to a cultural currency and fluidity, which recalls that from which the biblical flood story arose. A Noah's ark may be a "transitional object," a safe place in which to experience and overcome the terrors and possibilities of the world. The chapter concludes with a discussion of Ruth Kerr's How Mrs. Monkey Missed the Ark, in which the canonical text is virtually eliminated, and only appears through the cracks.

Keywords: Ark; biblical flood story; canonical text; children's literature; monkey; Noah's ark; Peter Spier; Ruth Kerr; Scholem Asch



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