Ansichten und Aussichten- Festschrift für Hans-Heino Ewers
Between Reality and Literature. Der Gelukvinder by Edward van de Vendel and Anoush Elman as Life Writing for Adolescents: Helma van Lierop-Debrauwer
What we don’t want is cliché-stories, no supposedly ‚fashionable‘but in fact old-fashioned problem novels full of misery and easy solutions, no one-dimensional characters, artificially created suspense and moralistic narrators – although there is nothing against an honest moral. What counts is personality, authenticity, literature (Van den Hoven 2008, 15).
These were the words Dutch children’s book author Edward van de Vendel used to characterize the Slash-series, which he launched in his 2006 Annie M.G. Schmidt Lecture.2 Through this series of adolescent novels, he wanted to reintroduce political engagement and societal relevance in books for young people in the Netherlands, elements that had been absent for quite a while as a reaction to the explicit moralism of the 1970s. For a long time after this decade, engagement was declared taboo and most adolescent novels ceased to address any political or social issues and instead were mainly concentrated on the aesthetic (Van de Hoven 2008, 10-11). In this respect, the Dutch adolescent literature seems to differ from books for young people in Germany, which ever since the 1960s have continued to represent societal and political problems:
Seit Ende der 60er Jahre sind wir Zeitgenossen eines weitreichenden Formen- und Stilwandels der Literatur für Jugendliche und junge Erwachsene. Ein hervorstechendes Merkmal der ‚neuen‘ Jugendliteratur ist deren kritischer Zeitbezug. (…) Der neue Jugendroman kann prinzipiell auch als Zeitroman gelesen werden (Ewers 1994, 7).
However, around the turn of the century, Dutch authors began to show a...