Voice

The first mention of voice as metaphor appeared in 1587, when Golding De Mornay wrote that “there is . . . a dubble Speech; the one in the mynd . . . the other the sounding image thereof . . . vttered by our mouth” (OED). The Dictionary of Narratology defines voice as “the set of signs characterizing the narrator and, more generally, the narrating instance, and governing the relations between narrating and narrative text as well as between narrating and narrated” (Prince 1987, 104). In defining what constitutes literature for children or young people, voice is typically regarded as a key determinant, especially when used to distinguish an adult voice of authority from an implied (receptive) child listener.

What makes a book a children’s book, says Barbara Wall, “is not what is said, but the way it is said, and to whom it is said” ([1991] 1994). …

This essay may be found on page 194 of the printed volume.

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