Rousseau and Alan Garner

Innocence of the child and of the word
Part of the Language, Discourse, Society book series (LDS)


In the first volume of Alan Garner’s four-volume Stone Quartet (Garner, 1976–8), Mary asks her father, a stonemason, for a book so that she can learn to read. His reply is to take her to Engine Vein, a crevice in the rocks where the miners’ railroad runs, and to send her down into the caves beneath to explore. What Mary finds is her father’s mason mark on the wall of a cave and a daubed bull. It was ‘the most secret place she had ever seen’ — a place where her father’s past and her present history were written, and where everything else converged. When Mary comes out of the cave: ‘The sky seemed a different place. All things led to the bull and the mark and the hand in the cave’ (Garner, 1976, p. 54). Her father takes her home and gives her a book made of stone. This book ‘unlike a book you can open’ which ‘only has one story’, contains ‘all the stories of the world’ (Garner, 1976, pp. 58, 61).


Fairy Tale Linguistic Sign Narrative Fiction Adventure Story Ofthe Child 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 10.
    Much controversy surrounds the provenance, authorship and audience of Charles Perrault’s fairy tales; these questions, together with the issue of their relationship to oral and literate culture in the seventeenth century, are examined in Marc Soriano, Le dossier Charles Perrault (Soriano, 1972) and in the introduction to Perrault’s Contes (Perrault, 1967).Google Scholar
  2. 11.
    See Francis Mulhern, The Moment of Scrutiny (Mulhern, 1979).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Jacqueline Rose 1992

Authors and Affiliations

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations