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Title: Het feuilleton is beter dan het boek!
Subtitle: Over Johan en de Alverman
Author(s): GHESQUIERE, Rita
Journal: Spiegel der Letteren
Volume: 51    Issue: 3   Date: 2009   
Pages: 341-367
DOI: 10.2143/SDL.51.3.2042565

Abstract :
This contribution focuses on the novelisation of Johan en de Alverman (= John and the Goblin) a successful Flemish television series (1966-1967). Due to its low status, information on this book was almost unavailable. Whereas the television series has been highly praised in Belgium and abroad, the book was poorly received by the critics, who were especially suspicious of the commercialisation. Our analysis makes clear that the novelisation displays some interesting characteristics: gaps, alternative characters, and humour. These characteristics become prominent in children’s literature a few decades later and only then do they meet with appreciation. Johan en de Alverman disregards genre classifications and eschews the connection with traditional children’s literature. Moreover, the absence of serious social criticism – which becomes the driving force of the renewal of children’s literature in the 1970s, when problem novels make up the canon – worked against the critical approval of the book’s unusual and original approach.

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