Candlewycke Library was founded as a personal / academic research library dedicated to the study of children’s literature, fairy tales and folklore. Over time the libraries focus evolved to include religious and theological topics. Though disparate subjects a connecting theme emerged and the true soul of the library manifested as an institution of truth, meaning and the human journey.
Candlewycke Library is devoted to an interdisciplinary and scholarly yet approachable focus while also standing against the narrow, insulating opinions of traditional academia that have for too long been cast as the sole arbiters of criticism and opinion. It is my hope that we do not lose sight of the enchantment and wonder at the heart of these subjects, as has been the result of too many years of dry academic focus on criticism and interpretation and that has allowed a narrow mindset to infiltrate what should be an expansive world. The truth is that as in children’s literature the more one expands, the more one turns inward and as we approach truth, we find meaning and in meaning we are made cozy, as birds returning to the mother nest. The same is true of religious studies, which share a curious history with Children’s literature. Imaginative belief, both true and fictive (and yes, a imaginative belief, like a myth can be both true and fiction) tales occupy a unique place in our history and in cultural heritage. It informs thought, alters perceptions and educates the mind at an emotional, intellectual and mythic level. This is the foundation upon which we are all built. On the surface the genres of Children’s Literature , Fairy and Folk Tale’s and Religion might appear to be unrelated but they share a common history and in so many ways a common purpose. Upon close inspection we discover that each speaks to the “child mind” or the mind that is open to possibilities in both children and adults. Unlike what we generally term reality and it’s literary equivalent non-fiction children’s literature, fairy and folk tale’s and religious studies ask that we pay a little something extra. This payment is often a form of belief that suspends the normal rules which govern our daily lives. It is the toll we must pay in order to pass through the gates that separate the mundane from the extraordinary. Equal to if not greater than the price we are asked to pay is what we find by allowing the story (and we are all made of stories) to enfold us, what the German philosopher Ernst Bloch calls anticipatory illumination. This means the part of a story that gives us hope for a better tomorrow. We anticipate that something better exists somewhere on the other side of who we are right now and the story, be it a fairy tale or a story expressly written for children, or even systemic theology gives us a momentary glimpse of what it might be if we pass though to the other side. Snow White, Cinderella,Vasilisa, Max, Wilbur, Mike Mulligan, Stuart Little, Noah, King David, Jesus Christ, and all their kindred spirits provide not only role models, but also the moral compass by which we navigate from the familiar (heimlich) through the unfamiliar (unheimlich) and beyond into the illumination of wisdom.
It is my aim to study this field within the framework of the child-mind and to collect such material as is pertinent to further that study, to discover the mythic meaning behind the stories and beliefs that comprise these fields and to provide instruction and insight as needed to the wider public.
I do not endorse any one method of critical theory or philosophy over any other in my interpretation. Stories, be they written expressly for children or representative of an oral tradition are integral parts of the society from which they emerged and to which they belong, they are fluid and evolving and possess meanings which often go beyond what was originally intended and as such they should be studied with that in mind. By searching for the mythic meaning I hope to discover not only the intended meaning but to transcend that meaning and understand what the stories can say if we listen.
The Libraries, and by extension my own personal motto “The thing’s that make us Happy, make us Wise” is more than a simple motto. It is the underlying philosophy with which I undertake my studies. Childhood is the fount from which all things of the adult world flow. It is the un-tilled soil into which the seeds of wisdom are planted.
Wisdom, that integral spark of greater understanding and connectivity lies at the heart of all true children’s literature and is woven into the rich tapestry of the fairy tales we hold dear. The Candlewycke Research Library seeks to carry this wisdom into maturity through understanding the imaginative wonder of the child-mind.
Meet the Founder…
Tory Shane Quinton is a lifelong scholar of Children’s literature, mythology, Fairy and folklore (with a special emphasis on Death Studies and mourning customs), and Religion as well as semiotics and philosophy in both history and practice as well as being a published poet, accomplished artist and an incurable bibliophile. He is a native of Georgia currently residing in the wooded hill’s north of Atlanta with his wife Nancie and their two boys Oliver and Owen.
Candlewycke was a name chosen to reflect both the visual appeal of the candle and the wycke which provides the illumination, a fitting metaphor for the study of the history and philosophy of children’s literature. It was first used as the name of my private library over time coming to be associated with my greater aim of studying the interrelated fields of children’s literature, fairytale and folklore in a manner that was unifying and ultimately transcending of established methods of literary theory criticism.
For permission to copy in whole or in part the contents of this blog for scholarly or any other purpose please contact the Libraries founder, Tory Quinton by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing to the attention of the Library at Candlewycke, Tory Shane Quinton, 740 Whitehall Way, Roswell Georgia 30076.