by David Rudd

About David Rudd

David Rudd is Professor of Children’s Literature at the University of Bolton (UK), where he administers the master’s program in Children’s Literature and Culture. He is best known for his monograph Enid Blyton and the Mystery of Children’s Literature . Most recently he edited the Routledge Companion to Children’s Literature.


The word “theory” appears in Raymond Williams’s original Keywords (1976). He traces its origins back to the Greek theoros, meaning “spectator,” with its root in thea, for “sight,” which also gave us “theater.” As more recent commentators put it, “[T]he literal sense of looking has then been metaphorized to that of contemplating or speculating” (Wolfreys et al. 2006). The term became increasingly opposed to “practice,” not only as something removed from the everyday, but also as something involved in attempts to explain and model the everyday. Although the title of Williams’s work—_Keywords—_implicitly underwrites the importance of language, his own humanistic approach became more and more at odds with the “linguistic turn” in literary and cultural studies.