Tom 5 (2010)

Czytankowe Alpy

Dorota Michułka

Strony: 109 - 125



Storybook Alps


Storybook texts dealing with the Alps show how the presentation of the mountains evolved – from the romantic convention associated with an atmosphere of excitation and emotions as well as longing for homeland landscapes e.g. Słowacki’s letter From the Swiss mountains or the poetic novel On the Zurich lake to positivist approaches to Alpine spaces – sober, realistic, matter-of-fact, resembling tourist guides e.g. Life in the mountains, Building a house in the Upper Styria Alps. School stories often referred to – also for the sake of comparison – Poland’s Tatra Mountains, which, according to the authors of textbooks, were an idyllic land, a true Arcadia. However, the Alpine storybooks did not idealise the image of the mountains and the life of the people living there; they contained a lot of information, providing young readers with geographical and cultural knowledge. The prime objective of the protagonists – people living in the mountains – was simply to survive.The protagonists of school textbooks were ordinary inhabitants of Alpine villages or tourists travelling with guides. The plot was replaced by a narrative based on the travellers’ routes, which corresponded to trails presented in professional guidebooks. The texts were dominated by encyclopaedic knowledge. The textbook descriptions of the Swiss mountains emphasise socio-ethnographic and cultural themes, while the “mountain dangers” usually refer to everyday life and ordinary survival. Thus, these works complement the school’s moral and educational paradigm.