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Multatuli in Zombieland

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

In 1860 the Dutch author Multatuli (pen name of Eduard Douwes Dekker) published Max Havelaar, which was to become the most famous nineteenth-century Dutch novel. In 2016 the book was rewritten by Martijn Adelmund as a book in which also zombies play a role. By doing so Adelmund follows a fifteen-year-old American tradition to rewrite literary masterpieces as zombiebooks. Since Max Havelaar does not contain many characters nor descriptions of the Indonesian nature and has a rather simple plot, Adelmund decided to mix the book with another nineteenth-century masterpiece of Dutch literature, De stille kracht, by Louis Couperus. The purpose is to make secondary school pupils read the original Max Havelaar again and to make them compare the two versions in order to develop a critical look at the Dutch colonial history and its present-day consequences. The review focuses on the way Adelmund mixed the two classic books, reshaped the intrigue and added parts of his own. Much attention is paid to the way in which the original language was modernized and to the question whether this book really can or will help young students to read the original. However noble Adelmund’s objectives may be, it is very improbable that he will manage to realize them since the quality of the novel he created, leaves a lot to be desired.
Journal: Werkwinkel: Journal of Low Countries and South African Studies
ISSN: 1896-3307
Issue: 2
Volume: 12
Pages: 103 - 118
Publication year:2017