ABSTRACT

For many years children’s literature research in Sweden was governed by the

notion of adaptation. Briefly, this idea, which has also influenced research­

ers in Germany and elsewhere, implies that children’s texts are adapted, or

adjusted, to what writers and educators believe to be the needs, interests,

experience or perception of young readers. In Sweden Gote Klingberg has

proposed a whole system of different adaptation types according to subject

matter, form, style and medium.1 In his latest works he suggests other terms

that probably better describe the various phenomena he previously catego­

rized as adaptation.2 One of these terms is purification, which means that a

children’s text is purged of whatever does not suit the taste, ideology, mor­

als or religion of an adult mediator.3 Purification is the most common form

of interference in children’s books. My favorite example is a passage in

the Russian edition of Selma Lagerlof’s The Wonderful Adventure o f Nils

(1906-07), in which the parents go to the market, while in the original they

are going to church. In the atheistic Soviet Union, a church could not be men­

tioned at all in a children’s book. Some contemporary Swedish children’s

books have been subjected to purification because of the strict American

attitude to nakedness. The latest such example is Pija Lindenbaum’s Else-

Marie and Her Seven Little Daddies (1990).