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Re-emerging childhood memories

click here to view the illustrations with the accompanying text

After a discussion about childhood fairytales I remembered having a book as a kid called "Der Struwwelpeter" written by Heinrich Hoffmann in 1844. I clearly remember the graphic illustrations which depicted various lessons children should learn / obey in life. The illustrations are still clearly embedded in my mind, based on the graphic nature of the images.

Reading this text now, after about 17 years since I read these (and got them read by my parents), I am quite horrified that these stories (especially their illustrations) where used as an educational basis which supposedly informed and stimulated children’s thoughts and imagination. Reliving/reading these stories today have left me in an anxious, emotional, wound up and confused state…

"While Struwwelpeter is somewhat notorious for its perceived brutal treatment of the erring children, it has been influential on many later children's books, most notably Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; in German, Max und Moritz bears a strong resemblance in style to Struwwelpeter." (Wikipedia)

Click on the above pictures to enlarge them. Here one of the illustrations explain that sucking your thumb is bad. And if you do so the tall sissor man will come and cut your thumbs off - leaving you thumbless - I do recal howver that I never sucked my thumbs!


  1. Blogger Gregor | Monday, October 24, 2005 10:21:00 pm |  

    P.S. This post is dedicated to my parents :)