Graduate School
Welkom by Universiteit Stellenbosch

Dr Amanda de Beer

Home country: South Africa

PANGeA partner: Stellenbosch University

Year of enrolment: 2012

Graduation date: March 2015

Department:  Modern Foreign Languages (German)

Supervisor: Dr Rolf Annas

Dissertation title: "Wo ist der Junge aus dem Urwald?" Abenteuer und koloniales Afrika in der Jungendliteratur"

"Adventure and colonial Africa in German youth literature"

​Abstract: This dissertation investigates how the African colonial period is portrayed in German youth literature. German adventure literature is often set in the African colonial period. However, motifs in the adventure novel do not always correspond with historical themes and geographical spaces. This gives the impression that such novels stand outside of time and space and that the historical and geographical context merely emphasize the distance between Africa and Europe. In light of the fact that Africa and its historical context are often reduced to an exotic backdrop, questions are raised about the way authors examine the colonial period in the adventure literature and how the portrayal of Africa has changed since 1945. The question how the African colonial period is portrayed in German youth literature is therefore examined within the context of the traditional adventure literature. Reflecting on adventure literature before 1945 on the one hand and adventure stories after 1945 on the other, this study examines to what extent youth books and their portrayal of the colonial period have changed and how these books relate back to the traditional adventure literature. For this purpose, adventure stories and adventurous youth stories and –novels that are set in the colonial period in Africa are analysed and the study focuses on four periods: Firstly, traditional adventure stories and motifs that play an important role in the portrayal of Africa are identified. The following are analysed: C. Falkenhorst's Der Baumtöter (1894), Gustav Frenssen's Peter Moors Fahrt nach Südwest (1906), Josef S. Viera's Bana Sikukuu (1924) and Gust in der Klemme (1933), Max Mezger's Aufruhr auf Madagaskar (1930) and Rolf Italiaander's Wüstenfüchse (1934). Secondly, the dissertation investigates what role adventure motifs – initiation, resistance and conquest – play in the youth literature of the Federal Republic of Germany. The following are analysed: Kurt Lütgen's …die Katzen von Sansibar zählen (1962), Rolf Italiaander's Mubange, der Junge aus dem Urwald (1957), Herbert Kaufmann's Der Teufel tanzt im Ju-Ju-Busch and his historical novel Des Königs Krokodil (1959). Thirdly, the study examines adventure motifs – noble savage (edle Wilde), anti-hero and the duel – in the literature published in the German Democratic Republic. These are Ferdinand May's novel Sturm über Südwest-Afrika (1962) and Götz R. Richter's Savvy-Trilogie (1955-1963) and Die Löwen kommen (1969). Lastly, the dissertation poses the question to what extent the contemporary adventure literature – like Hermann Schulz' missionary novel Auf dem Strom (1998) – shows a new development which deviates from the traditional adventure literature of the 19th and 20th century. otherness is deconstructed to such an extent that it is not difference that is highlighted, but instead a literary model for the co-existence of cultures.

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