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Max and Moritz by Wilhelm Busch
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Max and Moritz (1865)

by Wilhelm Busch

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English (3)  Spanish (1)  All languages (4)
Showing 3 of 3
Bevat ook: Plisch und Plum
Maler Klecksel
  Marjoles | Jan 12, 2019 |
Several years ago when visiting Vienna, we attended (at my insistence) a ballet based on Wilhelm Busch’s children’s classic Max and Moritz. It’s a book I grew up with and one that was read to me from an early age. We in the audience laughed heartily at Max and Moritz’s antics and even the ballet music – Rossini - was cheerful and bubbly. I turned and saw my husband and daughter seated next to me in slack-jawed shock and horror!
Max and Moritz: A Children’s Story in Seven Parts, was written during the mid-19th Century and is a story, told in rhyming couplets, of two boys who play tricks on various people in the community. Eventually, they get their comeuppance, much to the satisfaction of the targets of their misdeeds. Intended to be a cautionary tale about naughty or bad behavior (in the manner of another German classic: Der Struwwelpeter), both the tricks and the punishment are over-the-top. The tricks, which include an attempted drowning and explosions, are all at the expense of very proper, upstanding members of the community who are (naturally) outraged. The eventual punishment they exact is also extreme!

What is noteworthy about this book (apart from the extreme violence) is the format of the book. Max and Moritz is the pre-cursor of the comic book complete with onomatopoeia, invented language and other language devices typically used to describe the action in comics. The language is playful and intended to be an accompaniment to the illustrations. Each character is illustrated as a caricature and in fact, I’ve always thought that the boys themselves bear a striking resemblance to Laurel and Hardy.
There is no question that the humor in this book is cruel so after the performance and after re-reading the book now, I wondered why we often are inclined to laugh at cruelty. I am thinking particularly of some types of slapstick humor - the premise of which is often to laugh at the misfortunes or even (often inflicted) pain, of others. So too, some of the cartoons we grew up watching were extremely violent and in ways, similar to Max and Moritz (didn’t Wily Coyote always get his?). Maybe this kind of hyperbole serves to underscore the purpose of the violence - retribution, ignorance, disobedience, etc. Because we understand that it's not real, we can take in the lesson without being appalled. Whatever the intentions, Max and Moritz is fascinating both for its social commentary as well as its importance in the history of the development of children’s literature and the graphic novel/cartoon. ( )
1 vote plt | Jan 4, 2013 |
[Max and Moritz : a knaves story in seven pranks.] Bookplate of Stanley Marcus on the verso of the cover. Text in German. This is a humorous children's classic in verse. The pictures in this edition are faithful reproductions of the hand-colored prints in an early edition from around 1870. Both the text and the illustrations were adapted from an original 1864 hand- written manuscript at the Wilhelm Busch Museum in Hanover. A new forward by Dr. Friedrich Bohne has been added.
  fredheid | Feb 26, 2006 |
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» Add other authors (38 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Wilhelm Buschprimary authorall editionscalculated
Amsler, JeanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Arndt, Walter W.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Canicio, VictorTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Caproni , GiorgioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Görlach, ManfredAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hellsing, LennartTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Klompsma, JanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Merten, Gotthold AdalbertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nydorf, CharlesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Runeberg, NinoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sauer, WalterEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Väänänen, KalleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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[auf Englisch] Oh, how full the Sunday papers,
Are of naughty children's capers,
Like the tricks the ill-reputed,
Max and Moritz executed.
Ah, the wickedness one sees
Or is told of such as these,
Namely Max and Moritz; there!
Look at the disgraceful pair!
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Please leave this entry for books containing the Max & Moritz story ONLY! Thanks!
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0486201813, Paperback)

Great humor classic in both German and English. Also 10 other works: "Cat and Mouse," "Plisch and Plumm," and more.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:57:57 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Rhymed text and illustrations present the pranks and misadventures of two very naughty boys. Includes exercises to help English speakers sharpen their German language skills.

» see all 2 descriptions

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