Studien zur literarischen Erinnerungskultur für junge Leser
Edited By Gabriele von Glasenapp and Hans-Heino Ewers-Uhlmann
The past in the present. About the novel “Vallen” by Anne Provoost 307
Helma van Lierop-Debrauwer (Tilburg) The past in the present. About the novel Vallen by Anne Provoost Although World War II officially came to an end sixty years ago, what hap- pened at that time still influences the opinions and the behaviour of many people in the Netherlands. The memory of this tragedy is kept alive by war cemeteries, monuments, museums, television, radio, film and, last but not least children’s literature. The many cultural artefacts concerning the years 1940-1945 make this period probably the best documented one in Dutch history. Immediately after the liberation in 1945 authors began to write about the war. In his overview of books written for children and young adults, De Vries (1990) finds that up to the 1960s Dutch children’s literature about World War II consisted of two genres: books that can be categorized as chauvinistic adventure novels and books which he labels as narratives with a highly informative charac- ter. Both genres are characterized by an adult perspective and intend “to keep the memory of the war alive and through this form the mentality of the post-war youth”. According to De Vries, an important change took place in the 1960s and 1970s, when authors who were children during the war, started to write down their own childhood memories for children and young adults. As a result, the adult perspective was replaced by a child perspective and narratives no longer had the form of a history lesson. The authors of these autobiographical writings obviously needed time...
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