Essays in Honour of Gabriele Müller-Oberhäuser
Edited By Simon Rosenberg and Sandra Simon
Marketing Socialism? Sales Strategies for rororo rotfuchs, a Left-Wing Children’s Paperback Series in the 1970s
Corinna Norrick-Rühl, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität, Mainz
The West German Rowohlt Verlag launched a paperback series for children, rororo rotfuchs, in 1972. Using archival records from the Mainzer Verlagsarchiv, this contribution analyses the intricate relationship between the left-wing rotfuchs books and Rowohlt’s capitalist marketing strategies.
In the 1970s, the German Studies scholar Jack Zipes published two articles discussing a distinct leftward movement in West German publishing, in particular in certain children’s and young adult programmes.1 He showed that this shift was motivated and influenced by the ideas of the student protest movement that had begun in West Germany in 1968, which, among other things, propagated educational reform from the pre-school to the university level. Besides these brief articles by Zipes, the 1970s West German market for children’s and young adult literature has not received much scholarly attention in the Anglophone world. In fact, even in the German-speaking world, the particularities of this market in the 1970s, especially its rapport with the political developments of the period, have not been treated much at all, though they are exceptionally illustrative of the intricate relationships between texts, publishers, and readers that lie at the heart of book historical research.
The dynamics of the student protest movement and its effects on the 1970s West German market for adult readers, on the other hand, have been studied extensively.2 As early as 1969, Dieter E. Zimmer explained in the weekly national newspaper Die Zeit why the relationship...
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