På vei mot barnelitteraturens grense? Erlend Loes <em>Kurtby</em> (2008)
AbstractToward the limit of children’s literature? Erlend Loe’s Kurtby (2008). Fiction for all ages, books that are intended for children and adult readers alike, became an important subgenre in Norwegian literature for young readers during the 1990s. One of the crosswriters who contributed greatly to the erasing of borders between children’s literature and literature for adults, is Erlend Loe, whose breakthrough novel, Naive. Super. (1996) became a cult book. It is a naive, humorous story of a man who won’t grow up. Gradually, Loe’s children’s books about another childlike adult, Kurt the truck driver (1994, 1995, 1998, 2003, 2008), became cult literature as well. The Kurt-books are published as children’s literature, but the audience has somewhat changed from children to adult readers. In this article, I discuss a problem complex of a principle nature about the limits of children’s literature. Is there a limit for what is or could be children’s literature? Erlend Loe’s border crossing novel Kurtby (2008) is used as a relevant case study to investigate the question. In this fi fth book about Kurt and his family, the setting is Sweden, in the small town Kurtby. The novel is a parody of “the Knutby case”, a tragedy that shook both Norway and Sweden in 2004, which includes religious fanaticism, adultery and murder. The publication of Kurtby attracted a great deal of attention, and it has been discussed whether the issues at stake in the Knutby case are really suitable subjects for a children’s book. Does Kurtby move toward the limit of children’s literature? Or, is it a move toward the limit of what can be written about with humor?
Keywords: crossover; Erlend Loe; Norwegian Children’s Literature; Fiction for all ages; erased borders; the limit of children’s literature; humour
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