[DWJ] Dwj Digest, Vol 138, Issue 3

Emma Falconer emmajanefalconer at gmail.com
Wed Dec 13 09:33:09 EST 2017


"in German, the police car is called "die Gruene Minna", Minna being a very
old fashioned girl's name."

I actually met a 17 year old Minna recently.

On 13 December 2017 at 12:16, <dwj-request at suberic.net> wrote:

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> Today's Topics:
>
>    1. Re: Black Maria (Steinke, Gabriela M.)
>    2. Re: Black Maria (minnow at belfry.org.uk)
>    3. Re: Black Maria (Martha Hixon)
>    4. Re: Black Maria (Chris Cooke)
>    5. Re: Black Maria (Jameela Lares)
>
>
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: "Steinke, Gabriela M." <G.Steinke at wlv.ac.uk>
> To: Diana Wynne Jones discussion <dwj at suberic.net>
> Cc:
> Bcc:
> Date: Tue, 12 Dec 2017 17:04:43 +0000
> Subject: Re: [DWJ] Black Maria
> Hi Martha,
>
> yes, cultural differences are often astonishing and (can be) fun. As to
> pronunciation, in England, the pop person Mariah Carey is always
> *Ma-rye-ah* (perhaps because of the h?) but also Maria Edgeworth. Just on
> the cultural titbits: in German, the police car is called "die Gruene
> Minna", Minna being a very old fashioned girl's name. I can't find a German
> translation of the book, though, so no idea what they would make of the
> title.
>
> Best wishes,
> Gaby
> (trying to escape the marking for a bit)
>
> Gabriela Steinke SFHEA
>
> Principal Lecturer, Director of Post-Graduate Taught Programmes
>
> Course Leader MA English
>
> Faculty of Arts
>
> MX103
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> University of Wolverhampton
>
> Camp Street
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> ________________________________________
> From: Dwj [dwj-bounces at suberic.net] on behalf of Martha Hixon [
> martha.hixon at mtsu.edu]
> Sent: 12 December 2017 16:21
> To: Diana Wynne Jones discussion
> Subject: Re: [DWJ] Black Maria
>
> Yes, the book does mention a card game in the opening paragraph, which is
> known most often over here as "Hearts," and so certainly Cathy is right,
> that the card game is a primary reference--and "Black Bitch" does so fit
> Maria, ha! Definitely more so than "Hearts," except ironically. So that
> helps. I can't really figure out how a police van reference might fit into
> the story other than as a vehicle that confines, restricts, or incarcerates
> people who break the law and disrupt the social order--though that does
> also fit Maria, doesn't it? She saw herself as the maintainer of social
> order, and incarcerated people who disrupted it. I just had not ever come
> across the term before--it is definitely not an American term ("paddy
> wagon" is an old-fashioned American term, and a rather insulting ethnic
> reference, in that it was a reference to the large Irish population in New
> York City in the 19th century). Yes, the U.S. edition specifically says,
> "You have to call this plague *Ma-rye-ah*. Aunt Maria insists you say her
> name like that." ( 2nd and 3rd sentences in the first paragraph). That's
> not in the UK edition? I've never heard anyone named "Maria" in real life
> pronounce it that way; it's always "Ma REE a." I thought maybe that was
> just a British or a class distinction, but that pronunciation does clearly
> connect to the police van term, yes? If it's an old-fashioned way of saying
> the name, that also does fit Maria.
>
> I do think it's fun to find out tidbits of contexts and connections, small
> things that a storyteller might have had in their head when writing. It
> adds to the world building for me and to seeing the story as the author saw
> it, which is important to me as a reader and as a scholar. And I find it
> intriguing when those ideas and assumptions aren't universally shared by
> readers. (Some of you who are also on the UK children's lit list might
> remember that a year or so ago I asked about the house on the first page of
> Anthony Browne's *Voices in the Park *and how British readers interpret or
> see it in terms of First Voice's self identity. Americans don't get all the
> nuances that Browne was visualizing, it seems--it's just a rather ordinary,
> middle-class house to us. And my students always ask why First Voice
> doesn't just let the dog--and Charles--out to run around in the yard at
> home; the British concept of public parks is not one we have here in most
> cities and towns).
>
> Martha
>
> Dr. Martha P. Hixon
> Department of English
> Middle Tennessee State University
> Murfreesboro, TN 37132
> 615.898.2599 / martha.hixon at mtsu.edu
>
> On Tue, Dec 12, 2017 at 12:00 AM, Catherine Butler <cathcbutler at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
> > Diana would certainly have known the term as meaning a police van - it’s
> in
> > fairly common usage in the UK. (I`ve never heard paddy wagon here - it
> > feels very American to me.) However, the book mentions Black Maria as the
> > name of a card game, so I take it that`s the primary reference, I've
> never
> > played the game under that name, but imagine it's like the one I knew as
> a
> > child, before I foreswore cards on the grounds that they're boring, under
> > the charming name The Black Bitch, where the aim is not to hold the queen
> > of spades.
> >
> > Cathy
> >
> > On Tuesday, 12 December 2017, Elizabeth Evans <er.evans at auckland.ac.nz>
> > wrote:
> >
> > > Hello Martha
> > >
> > > In New Zealand in the 1960s and early 70s 'Black Maria' was an
> idiomatic
> > > term for a police van, but I think 'Black Maria' was overtaken by the
> > term
> > > 'Paddy Wagon'.
> > > I'm afraid I don't know what the current term is, but I wouldn't be
> > > surprised if it has changed again.
> > >
> > > Regards
> > > Elizabeth.
> > >
> > > -----Original Message-----
> > > From: Dwj [mailto:dwj-bounces at suberic.net] On Behalf Of Martha Hixon
> > > Sent: Tuesday, 12 December 2017 3:29 PM
> > > To: Diana Wynne Jones discussion <dwj at suberic.net>
> > > Subject: [DWJ] Black Maria
> > >
> > > hi, everyone,
> > >
> > > I was reading *The Hanged Man *by P.N. Elrod, and ran across the term a
> > > Black Maria, meaning a police van. I immediately thought of Diana's
> book
> > by
> > > that name, and was wondering whether anyone knows whether she was
> making
> > > conscious connections when she used that term, or of course if anyone
> > else
> > > has made that connection, or has another insight on that title--?
> > >
> > > it's *Aunt Maria *here in the U.S., so I'm more familiar with that
> > > title--and I confess, I was unfamiliar with that term as a reference
> to a
> > > "real" thing, so "aunt" has always made more sense to me.
> > >
> > > Martha
> > >
> > >
> > > Dr. Martha P. Hixon
> > > Department of English
> > > Middle Tennessee State University
> > > Murfreesboro, TN 37132
> > > 615.898.2599 / martha.hixon at mtsu.edu
> > > _______________________________________________
> > > Dwj mailing list
> > > Dwj at suberic.net
> > > http://www.suberic.net/mailman/listinfo/dwj
> > > _______________________________________________
> > > Dwj mailing list
> > > Dwj at suberic.net
> > > http://www.suberic.net/mailman/listinfo/dwj
> > >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Dwj mailing list
> > Dwj at suberic.net
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> _______________________________________________
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>
>
>
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: <minnow at belfry.org.uk>
> To: dwj at suberic.net
> Cc:
> Bcc:
> Date: Tue, 12 Dec 2017 20:24:08 +0000
> Subject: Re: [DWJ] Black Maria
> On Mon, 11 Dec 2017 20:28:48 -0600
> Martha Hixon <martha.hixon at mtsu.edu> wrote:
>
> > hi, everyone,
> >
> > I was reading *The Hanged Man *by P.N. Elrod, and ran across the term
> > a Black Maria, meaning a police van. I immediately thought of Diana's
> > book by that name, and was wondering whether anyone knows whether she
> > was making conscious connections when she used that term, or of
> > course if anyone else has made that connection, or has another
> > insight on that title--?
> >
> > it's *Aunt Maria *here in the U.S., so I'm more familiar with that
> > title--and I confess, I was unfamiliar with that term as a reference
> > to a "real" thing, so "aunt" has always made more sense to me.
>
> I can slightly answer the question, because I heard all about this when
> the title of the US edition had to be altered to avoid a possible
> racist slur -- which had not occurred to Diana as a problem when she
> wrote it, for some reason: it was 1991, and she should really have
> realised.  The term Black Maria would have been associated with a
> police van by most British readers at the time, at a guess; certainly I
> did instantly. The card game was a surprise to me, because I had always
> called it either "hearts" or "Slippery Anne, the Queen of Spades". (But
> Anne doesn't have a paddy-wagon named after her.)
>
> Diana was quite upset that the title had to be changed, and a part of
> the play on words lost (she was always keen on layers of meaning, not
> to say terrible puns), but bowed to the inevitable and just felt cross
> with herself for not having thought of it. When she wrote the book she
> was well aware of the card game and the fact that nobody wants to be
> left with Black Maria in their hand/on their hands, and as was quite
> usual with her, pulled in the other possible meaning as well and wove
> it into the strand; but she simply didn't think of "black" as an insult.
>
> The original title, Black Maria, is sideways reference to being hustled
> into a van and taken away at someone else's behest, constrained; the
> Awful Aunt is called Maria because that is how she behaves, taking
> people in (and taking them in) and then hijacking them to places they
> don't necessarily want to go.  She is a vehicle of oppression; a sort of
> small-scale juggernaut in people's lives, driving them in the direction
> she chooses.
>
> (Incidentally, Katherine Kurtz must have thought that a Black Maria was
> a police car not a paddy-wagon, because one of her heroes impresses
> people about how well he gets on with the police when they drop him off
> in a black Maria -- nobody would be impressed by your being dropped off
> in a prison van!)
>
> Minnow
>
>
>
>
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: Martha Hixon <martha.hixon at mtsu.edu>
> To: Diana Wynne Jones discussion <dwj at suberic.net>
> Cc:
> Bcc:
> Date: Tue, 12 Dec 2017 15:09:24 -0600
> Subject: Re: [DWJ] Black Maria
> oh, very helpful, Minnow. Diana clearly meant all these connections, then.
> I should have guessed, since it's the layers of meaning and puns, as you
> say, that make her books so wonderful.
>
> And yes, the UK title likely would have caused a bit of a stir here,
> unfortunately, though it never occurred to me, either -- but then, I read
> the book as "Aunt Maria," so I already knew who she was when I found out
> the British title.
>
> Thanks!
>
> best,
> Martha
>
> Dr. Martha P. Hixon
> Department of English
> Middle Tennessee State University
> Murfreesboro, TN 37132
> 615.898.2599 / martha.hixon at mtsu.edu
>
> On Tue, Dec 12, 2017 at 2:24 PM, <minnow at belfry.org.uk> wrote:
>
> > On Mon, 11 Dec 2017 20:28:48 -0600
> > Martha Hixon <martha.hixon at mtsu.edu> wrote:
> >
> > > hi, everyone,
> > >
> > > I was reading *The Hanged Man *by P.N. Elrod, and ran across the term
> > > a Black Maria, meaning a police van. I immediately thought of Diana's
> > > book by that name, and was wondering whether anyone knows whether she
> > > was making conscious connections when she used that term, or of
> > > course if anyone else has made that connection, or has another
> > > insight on that title--?
> > >
> > > it's *Aunt Maria *here in the U.S., so I'm more familiar with that
> > > title--and I confess, I was unfamiliar with that term as a reference
> > > to a "real" thing, so "aunt" has always made more sense to me.
> >
> > I can slightly answer the question, because I heard all about this when
> > the title of the US edition had to be altered to avoid a possible
> > racist slur -- which had not occurred to Diana as a problem when she
> > wrote it, for some reason: it was 1991, and she should really have
> > realised.  The term Black Maria would have been associated with a
> > police van by most British readers at the time, at a guess; certainly I
> > did instantly. The card game was a surprise to me, because I had always
> > called it either "hearts" or "Slippery Anne, the Queen of Spades". (But
> > Anne doesn't have a paddy-wagon named after her.)
> >
> > Diana was quite upset that the title had to be changed, and a part of
> > the play on words lost (she was always keen on layers of meaning, not
> > to say terrible puns), but bowed to the inevitable and just felt cross
> > with herself for not having thought of it. When she wrote the book she
> > was well aware of the card game and the fact that nobody wants to be
> > left with Black Maria in their hand/on their hands, and as was quite
> > usual with her, pulled in the other possible meaning as well and wove
> > it into the strand; but she simply didn't think of "black" as an insult.
> >
> > The original title, Black Maria, is sideways reference to being hustled
> > into a van and taken away at someone else's behest, constrained; the
> > Awful Aunt is called Maria because that is how she behaves, taking
> > people in (and taking them in) and then hijacking them to places they
> > don't necessarily want to go.  She is a vehicle of oppression; a sort of
> > small-scale juggernaut in people's lives, driving them in the direction
> > she chooses.
> >
> > (Incidentally, Katherine Kurtz must have thought that a Black Maria was
> > a police car not a paddy-wagon, because one of her heroes impresses
> > people about how well he gets on with the police when they drop him off
> > in a black Maria -- nobody would be impressed by your being dropped off
> > in a prison van!)
> >
> > Minnow
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Dwj mailing list
> > Dwj at suberic.net
> > http://www.suberic.net/mailman/listinfo/dwj
> >
>
>
>
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: Chris Cooke <cc at canteringserpent.com>
> To: Diana Wynne Jones discussion <dwj at suberic.net>
> Cc:
> Bcc:
> Date: Wed, 13 Dec 2017 09:27:53 +0000
> Subject: Re: [DWJ] Black Maria
> I'm wondering whether or not to add this, but, here goes - Black Maria
> (Aunt Maria) is the only one of Diana's books that I am unable to endlessly
> re-read. On my first reading of it I found it crushingly depressing.
> Anyone else?
>
> Chris.
>
>
>
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: Jameela Lares <Jameela.Lares at usm.edu>
> To: Diana Wynne Jones discussion <dwj at suberic.net>
> Cc:
> Bcc:
> Date: Wed, 13 Dec 2017 12:16:20 +0000
> Subject: Re: [DWJ] Black Maria
> I have not been able to read _Black/Aunt Maria_ through even once, though
> I also could not read through even the first of the Series of Unfortunate
> Events.  Too many triggers.  My childhood was not safe, but it is some
> comfort to think that many childhoods must have been, given how many people
> can be entertained by domestic terror.
>
> Cheers,
>
> Jameela Lares
> Professor of English
> Charles W. Moorman Distinguished Professor, 2017-2019
> The University of Southern Mississippi
> 108 College Drive #5037
> Hattiesburg, MS 39406-0001
>
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Dwj [mailto:dwj-bounces at suberic.net] On Behalf Of Chris Cooke
> Sent: Wednesday, December 13, 2017 3:28 AM
> To: Diana Wynne Jones discussion <dwj at suberic.net>
> Subject: Re: [DWJ] Black Maria
>
> I'm wondering whether or not to add this, but, here goes - Black Maria
> (Aunt Maria) is the only one of Diana's books that I am unable to endlessly
> re-read. On my first reading of it I found it crushingly depressing.
> Anyone else?
>
> Chris.
> _______________________________________________
> Dwj mailing list
> Dwj at suberic.net
> http://www.suberic.net/mailman/listinfo/dwj
>
> _______________________________________________
> Dwj mailing list
> Dwj at suberic.net
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>


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