Category Archives: 2010

Nummer 1


De Hellejongen. Een Vlaamse duivelssage als casus

The Hell Boy: A Flemish Devil Legend as Case Study Concerning Literacy versus Orality
With his epic poem ‘Legend of the Hell Boy’ (1883), the common practitioner Karel de Gheldere (1839-1913) has witten the following fascinating story. An angry step-mother hates her lazy son and wants her husband to hire him out as a servant, even if it were to the devil. And so it happens. During his three years as porter of heli, the boy has seen and experienced much. He makes an account of these experiences after his return home. This poem contains all kinds of traditional legend elements, which proves that the author was much familiar with the narrative popular culture of his time. This legend has become rather well-known in Koekelare, where the story is said to have taken place around 1820, and in the surroundings. The story is even known in other parts of Flanders. The interesting thing is that the narratives from the oral tradition are not a dull retelling but a very creative account of this story. This illustrates a good example of how literature has evolved through primary education to a good specimen of narra­tive popular culture.



De bok der zonde. Satanisch ritueel misbruik in de orthodox-protestantse vertelcultuur

The Scape Goat• Satanic Ritual Abuse within Orthodox-Protestant Narrative Culture
The mainstream media hardly write about satanic ritual abuse (SRA) these days after a hype and a barrage of abuse between believers and disbelievers in the eighties. Nowadays scholars and most journalists interpret the stories about the subject as urban legends. They see Satanists in the tales as misfits, the ones who are to blame for indecent behavior like porn and incest. In the field of folk narrative research, the tales are categorized as Satanic Panic. However, amongst many Dutch orthodox Christians, the tales about SRA are still widely spread. Within the Christian conduit, stories about SRA move rapidly and the number of tales even seems to grow within specific Christian denominations. The stories are hardly known outside the Christian community, although believers can also still be found outside Christian society. Many popular Christian books are being published about the occult, the devil (as a real entity), Satanism in general, and exor­cism. In these books, the most horrible stories about SRA are being told. Next to that, pastors and vicars spread the word in divine services and at Christian confe­rences. The author also collected tales amongst the so-called victims of SRA, who can be found quite easily within Christian healthcare and by contacting Christian church­es. Due to the stories, the act of deliverance by exorcism, priesthood, and the help of the so-called victims is growing even within traditional Christian churches.



“Met bloed uwen naem van onder op dit perkament zetten”
Si gned in Blood: Tales of the Devil in Oral and Written Tradition
Since in 1942 Maurits de Meyer analysed Flemish, Dutch, German and French variants of The Smith and the Devil (ATU 330), this provided the focus of the Flemish debate about the oral versus literary provenance of fairy tales. In this article De Meyer’s evidence is re-examined. It leads to the conclusion that he downplayed the considerable influence of the Smith and Devil story in the Amusante kinder­vertellingskens, a volume with mostly Perrault tales published in several editions in Ghent around 1800. Moreover, throughout the nineteenth century teachers and priests were eager to publish this story as a genuine popular tradition, which also contributed to its popularity. Oral retellings diverged only slightly. De Meyer’s maxim, postulating an almost complete separation between printed works and popular tradition, can no longer be upheld. The restudy of The Smith and the Devil is flanked by a discussion of two other dusters of stories in which men managed to elude a pact with the devil. The Feathered Wife (also known as Bringing an Unknown Anima’, ATU 1091), containing re­ferences to similar aid provided by the Holy Virgin, was dispersed in several versions through jest-books from the sixteenth century onwards. A rare Flemish Faust legend contains motifs that belong to the same group, such as paving a road in front of a carriage and demolishing it immediately afterwards. This story was distributed as a song text. In the Protestant Faust chapbook tradition, however, the magician could not be redeemed and the legends echo this, too.


Category: 2010

Nummer 2


Verzamelaars en producenten van bedevaartvaantjes (1853-1970). Emotionele omgang met traditioneel religieus erfgoed

Summary: Collectors and makers of pilgrimage pennants (1853-1970). An emotional approach to a traditional religious legacy
This contribution verifies which meanings have been attributed by historians and folklorists to the medium of pilgrimage pennants and how collectors have tried to influence the production, shaping and distribution of this type of devotional item. Any insight in this matter could lead to a better interpretation of some still in public or private collections archived copies.
In the middle of the nineteenth century, local historians started to consider the pilgrimage pennant as a valuable historica’ source of information.
Some of these historians even started to collect them. However, as of the late nineteenth century, especially folklorists started to pay attention. They considered the pennant as an aspect of a religious popular culture from the past and the present. Many folklorists saw the pennant as a typical form of popular art.
Several folklorists-collectors, in consultation with the local dergy, started to make pilgrimage pennants during the twentieth century in order to conserve the age-old custom of distributing these pennants at pilgrimage sites.
Especially Bernard Janssens (Lier), Stan Jena (Leuven) and Renaat van der Linden (Zottegem) have been active in this area.



Was en wasartefacten. Een cultuurhistorische benadering

Summary: Wax and waxen artefacts. A cultural-historical approach
Thanks to its exquisite qualities, wax has played an important role in private as well as in collective life. Bees’ wax used to illuminate mansions, churches and chapels and was an essential element in liturgy. In the Low Countries the consumption of pure wax – in spite its exorbitant price – kept growing, which resulted in an international wax trade. The expenditure of wax in rituals, processions and pageants was paid for by donations (in vivo and post mortem), taxes and fines.
Some believe that the way a candle burns, drips and goes out has a symbolic meaning (ceromancy). Waxen artefacts, especially (consecrated) candles, are said to protect people. Small waxen dummies, ‘clivorce candles’, etc are used to enchant, hurt and kill. But love can also be stimulated by candle magie: lovers’ candles, genital candles, etc. Funeral effigies, anatomie models and curios ended up in diverting people on the market-place and in wax museums. There are lots of occasions when people still need a lighted candle: at home, in places of pilgrimage as well as in the public domain.



Humor en volkscultuur

Summary: Humour and popular culture
Humour plays a significant role in both modern society and the popular and folk culture of the present and past centuries. Humour can be both legitimizing and lib­erating. It can be both related to incongruity and aggressiveness and be a powerful instrument for releasing psychological pressures. During the past centuries no schol-ar has thought of a satisfying definition of humour and this article doesn’t offer one either.
For popular culture the ideas of Michael Bakhtin are important. He stated that the popular cultures of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance were cultures of laughter. Bakhtin’s ideas were later criticized, e.g. by Aaron Gurevich. Like Bakthin Gurevich underlined the importance of the grotesque for medieval culture, but he claimed that the grotesque isn’t only humorous.
In popular culture there are a lot of different topics that are humour-related. This article describes the following categories: the joke, penny prints, puppetry, comme­dia dell’arte, fables, picaresque literature, caricatures, charivari, vaudeville, farces, nicknames, court jesters and clowns and carnival.
The social aspect of humour is very important. The views on the social role of humour differ. Some scholars state that humour is powerful, others claim that it isn’t. It is dear however that humour is very diverse and that it makes every day life colourful and interesting.



Category: 2010

Nummer 3


De 17de-eeuwse Nederlandse kinderprent

Summary: The Dutch children’s print of the seventeenth century: comic strip or only a precursor?
At the exhibition in Venlo Suske and Wiske the story tellers fl& of phantasy is exposed a print the Life of Klaas and Griet. Klaas is a softie, who is beaten by his wife Griet, who really is a “dulle Griet” and who is forced to do humiliating female work. A dif­ferent version of this picture story is titled Children with great pleasure you see the Life of an and Griet. Such a picture story about squabbles in a marriage could be a subject of a children’s print. When we research the phenomenon of the children’s print, it appears that the farm Bouman round 1673 was the first to print picture sto­ries especially intended for children, 75 years earlier than everywhere in Europe.
This study is about the early Dutch children’s prints with picture stories: are they already comic strips or only their precursors? Taking a starting-point the definition of a comic strip as a series of graphic images which are so organized that they con­vey a continuing action in a deliberate sequence, we conclude that most of the pic­ture stories are precursors because the sequence of the graphic images can be arbi­trary. But in the picture story of Jan the Washer a deliberate sequence is growing and the picture story of the unhappy marriage of Urbanus and Isabel hos that deliberate sequence that covers a continuing action and so meets the requirements of a full grown comic strip. The early Dutch children’s print is thus an important link in the development of the comic strip.



Zelfreflexieve vertelstrategieën in Willy Vandersteens Suske en Wiske (1945-1971)

Summary: Self-reflexive techniques in Willy Vandersteen’s Suske en Wiske (1945-1971)
Though the Flemish comic strip Suske en Wiske is still running, this artide limits itself to the first 71 stories Suske en Wiske that Willy Vandersteen (1913-1990) pub-lished in the Flemish newspapers De Nieuwe Standaard and De Standaard between 1945 and 1971. In English only a very limited amount of stories are available under various tides as Willy and Wanda, Bob and Bobette, Spike and Suzy. Suske en Wiske has a unity and a set of concrete formal techniques, evolving in time. Though Vandersteen did not create many new narrative techniques, his combination of a continuity strip with various forms of humor (induding self-referential strategies), a (fake) family setting, wild imagination and criticism of hot topics is quite unique for its time.
This study focuses on the self-reflexive or autoreferential techniques in Suske en Wiske. On the basis of Thierry Groensteen’s theoretical model nandes désignées. De la réflexivité dans les bandes dessinées’, in: Contrebandes, 13/14 (1990), p. 132- 165) the various occurrences in the comics series were dassified and discussed. In general the self-reflexive techniques function only as a short humoristic interruption of the linear course of the story, only exceptionafly they undermine a complete story as in De Briesen& Bruid. The self-reflexive inserts are quite frequent in the comic strips, but absent in the eight stories Vandersteen created for the weekly Tintin I Kuifie. In fact, such self-reflexive are rather unusual in French language comics of the same period, not only in the adventure comics as Tintin, Blake et Mortimer, Alix, but also in the humour series as Spirou or Lucky Luke. On the contrary such self-reflex-ive instances are far more common in Flemish comic strips as comic strips Nero or Piet Pienter en Bert Bibber (and later Kiekeboe and Urbanus).



Bekijk het maar. Het beeld als venster op de werkelijkheid

Summary: The image as window on reality
In the world we live in nowadays, we are surrounded by pictures. The amount of visual information is enormous. These images in commercials, in newspapers and the internet, on television and billboards, in arts and heritage are on the one hand totally different. But they have also one thing in common: They are all made by someone on purpose with a particular goal. Every picture tells a story of the way the maker of the image looks upon the world. In that way we can meet the particular way of seeing of the maker through the image. In that way every image opens a pos­sible window upon reality.
If we see images as windows upon reality, the collection of images that surround us become a learning spot. In fact an enormous collection of ways of seeing reality. And by using this side of images in museums, educational programs, heritage-projects and others, we could actualize the way we look upon the world we live in, in a more multi-focused way. And that is how images could enrich live.



Een kleine geschiedenis van de strip

Summary: A brief history of comics
Quite different than photography or movies, there cannot be a dear `father’ of mod-ern comics distinguished. Generafly, scholars situate the starting point of the histo-ry of comics at the end of the 19’h century. At this time many elements – such as technical, sociological and commercial developments, to name just a few – con-verged and made the enormously rapid development of comics possible, especially in the United States. Comics became an important commercial instrument for news-papers, and later on, syndicates, editors and others… There were big differences between American and European comics however. In Europe, and especially Belgium and France, comics were until the sixties of last century aimed at children and youngsters. As a consequence, comics were considered as a part of popular cul-ture and didn’t get a lot of attention of scholars. But times have changed and there’s a fascinating history to discover now. This artide makes a swift synthesis of this his-tory and points out some of the most influential Western authors.



Category: 2010

Nummer 4


Volkskundige aspecten van meer dan honderd jaar conscripties en loting (1798-1909)
Customs in Flanders Regarding Conscription and Substitution (1798-1909)
The French revolutionaries introduced – in France as well as in the occupied terri­tories – a compulsory military service for all young men, regardless of their social class (Law Jourdan, 1798). The adequate number of men to be enlisted was reached by means of drawing lots. That is why there was a lot of magie, black and white, in order to draw the lucky number. Conscription was a mile-stone in the life of young men: leaving their childhood behind and becoming adults. The day(s) the conscripts lelt their family to go and draw the best lot, they became an unruly and defiant group, roaring provocative songs and looking for trouble with other groups of conscripts. The police were always to accompany these unmanageable youngsters. The lucky as well as the unlucky ones often ended up intoxicated. But, as time went on, Napoleon allowed the well-to-do to look for a a substitute for their sons (1802-1880). Crimps recruited these volunteers and notaries drew up the contracts. That is why the 19th century army consisted mainly of poor people and adventurers. Desertion was rampant and therefore the allotments for the substitutes were spread over the whole period. Sometimes only an interest was handed out on a monthly basis. At the end of the 19th century, as antimilitarism grew and the call for more social equality became louder (universa’ suffrage), some political panties were able to intro-duce new conscription laws and get them voted (1909).




De dienstplicht in België historisch bekeken: een politieke en militaire evolutie (1830-2010)
The History of Conscription in Belgium: a Political and Military Evolution (1830- 2010)
The evolution of compulsory military service in Belgium has a turbulent history. When the French introduced the militia service with drawing lots and the possibil­ity of being replaced in 1798 in the area that now constitutes Belgium, this “blood tax” encountered heavy resistance, even resulting in a peasant revolt. The system was kept unchanged during the United Kingdom of the Netherlands (1815-1830) and even used after the Belgian independence. To lessen resistance, the numbers, years of service and exemptions were adjusted. Despite a long struggle during virtually the entire reign of king Leopold II to introduce generalized personal military service after the Austro-Prussian war of 1866, this would only happen just before the First World War. Finally it was introduced under socialist pressure. After the two world wars and the introduction of universal suffrage the duration of military service became an electoral weapon that dearly illustrated the general Belgian aversion for the military. During the Korean War, both the effectives of the Belgian army in peacetime and the service time peaked. Thereafter service time gradually decreased (with some exceptions), mainly due to political advance bidding. The larger impact of more technically advanced weaponry and the ensuing professionalization of war­fare continued to put the compulsory military service under pressure. The end of the Cold War and the beginning of Belgian involvement in peacekeeping missions at the beginning of the 1990’s, increasingly questioned the status of conscripts. In 1993 the compulsory military service was eventually suspended and the switch was made towards a professional army. In 2010, to compensate for manpower gaps in combat units, a voluntary military service has been introduced.




Herinneringen in steen en op papier. Monumenten en prentbriefkaarten voor twee heldinnen van de Eerste Wereldoorlog: Gabrielle Petit en Edith Cavell
Memories in Stone and Lighting. Monuments and Picture Postcards of Two World War One Heroines: Gabrielle Petit and Edith Cavell
In this article we will look at Belgian memories of two World War One heroines, namely the British bom nurse Edith Cavell (1865-1915) and the Belgian spy Gabrielle Petit (1893-1916). Both women were executed by the Germans for anti­German activities and their deaths gave rise to a lively post-war cult of remembrance. Within this context of a broad cult, we will first look at the history and form of three monuments erected for both women in the immediate post-war period in Brussels (Cavell monument, Peperstraat 1918; Cavell-Depage monument, Edith Cavellstraat 1920; Petit monument, Sint-Jansplein 1923). These monuments stand out as they were actually the first monuments erected for contemporary women as individuals in Belgium. Second we will look at photographic representations of these monu­ments on picture postcards. These postcards aren’t solely `photographic doubles’ of the monument, they also highlight new layers of meaning and thus contribute to the archive of visual memories of both women.




Wat schaft de pot? Zelfredzaamheid aan het Belgische front in 1914-1918
What Do We Have to Eat? How to Help Yourself in the Belgian Anny at the Front of 1914-1918
The Belgian army was not well prepared for war in August 1914. For troops in the field, it counted on the deliveries by civilians. During the German invasion, the food supply became a disaster. After the western front was frozen in November 1914 the French authorities delivered bread and cattle. Also frozen meat, canned flesh en fish, dried and salted herring were delivered. Because of the protests of the troops the army was obliged to install their own production facilities for food. Troops wanted the Belgian “taste”. They were also specialised in ‘finding’ their own food by hunt­ing and cultivating gardens. In 1918 last year of this war of attrition – the army was very capable and well organised on the so called food front.



“…. en de soldaat trok de wereld in“. Afgedankte soldaten in het geheugen van de Europese sprookjes

Disbanded Soldiers in European Folktale Tradition
Disbanded soldiers are folktale heroes. However, the wide variety in European folk­tale soldiers has all but disappeared from today’s communicative memory. It seems they are only remembered by small communities of military-historical parties like collectors and researchers of folktales and culture-historians. As such, the actual interest in military-historical recollection of soldier folktales has only been awakened by the fascination about the unusual “positive publicity” of folktale heroes, in con­trast to the stigmatization by the government of the disbanded soldiers as “country scourge” of the early modern period. To what degree the cultural standards and val­ues as well as the collective experiences in the past have influenced the image of the disbanded soldier and the recollection of soldier folktales is the theme of this study. In addition, the contribution points to the possibilities to question folktales con­cerning the perception, appraisal and presence of disbanded soldiers. Even the plu­rality of the representations of disbanded soldiers in folktales can be placed from a cultural-historical point of view.



Category: 2010