Zeehelden in de historische jeugdboeken van Pieter Louwerse

Translated title of the contribution: Historical books for youths about sea heroes by Pieter Louwerse

Maaike Bakker

Research output: Book/ReportReportProfessional

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This thesis is about Dutch heroes in five historic children’s books, written by Pieter Louwerse, a Dutch children’s books writer from the 19th century. The heroes described in his books come from the 17th century and are maritime heroes. I researched characteristics Louwerse assigned to these national heroes. I also researched how he described them such that the youths will find it interesting and attractive. I have described, per book, who the main character in the story is (the hero himself or an infamous child character), how the story is constructed, what inner habits and external features the heroes portray in the books, what people think of the heroes and the methods used by Louwerse to make the story exciting. Four heroes are described from the five books: Michiel de Ruyter (main hero in two books), Piet Heyn, Jan Pieterszoon Coen and Maarten Tromp.

Interesting results were derived from this research. Louwerse assigned positive characteristics to the heroes and positively criticised negative characteristics. He provides the readers with both the positive and the negative point of view about the heroes. Some of the heroes’ characteristics may tend to be living examples for the reader. To make the heroes interesting and attractive to the youth, Louwerse describes the childhood of the hero, and or meetings between the hero and a child who admires the hero. This helps the youths reading the book to easily identify themselves with the heroes. The characters consider friendship and family very important. These relationships are recognizable for the youths in real life. To make the story exciting, Louwerse uses flash-forwards within chapters, and cliffhangers at the end of chapters.

Louwerse wrote four books in a 19th century method of writing and one of the books in a method used in the beginning of the 20th century. In the former method, he developed a pattern of 19th century historical books where the childhood of a maritime national hero got more attention with every book. In the first book Louwerse gives a summary about the hero’s childhood and gives an extended description of one journey of the characters. Noticing the interest youths developed in his book, he further develops the concept and wrote three more books. In these three books, he tells more about the heroes’ childhood and describes more journeys. Finally, he wrote a 20th century book that fits in the genre of historical children’s books about maritime national heroes and that looks a bit like his first book. The adaptations makes the last book more of a 20th century writing than a 19th century writing.
Translated title of the contributionHistorical books for youths about sea heroes by Pieter Louwerse
Original languageDutch
PublisherScience Shop, University of Groningen
Number of pages102
Publication statusPublished - Apr-2018


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