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Stereotypes, Ideology and Foreign Correspondents

German Media Representations of Ireland, 1946–2010
Fergal Lenehan
Peter Lang


From the Introduction: Transnational Cultural History and Irish-German Intercultural Studies

In a 2009 episode of the immensely popular German children's cartoon, Bibi Blocksberg, the eponymous young witch at the centre of the series has to tackle the problems created by the sudden appearance of a leprechaun in her family's post-box. Bibi's Irish witch cousin, Margie Thunderstorm, had inadvertently sent it to her.1 Irish characters and settings often play a role within the plots of this hugely successful German children's television show, based upon books and radio plays of the same name, with the cartoon Bibi visiting Ireland on a number of occasions to visit her cousins. The reason for this Irish presence probably lies chiefly with the fact that the British-born, Austrian-bred author of the original Bibi Blocksberg books, Elfie Donnelly, had an Irish presence herself; her father originally coming from the Emerald Isle.2 Drawing on statements from Daniel Binchy - Ireland's chief diplomat in Germany from 1929 to 1931 - journalist Derek Scally has argued that an 'uninformed sympathy' has generally been central to 'average German' views of Ireland, from the 1920s to the present.3 This 'uninformed sympathy' may also suggest another more culturally collective reason for the fluid incorpora­tion of Irish characters and settings in the aforementioned children's cartoon.

This book centres on an aspect of culture diametrically opposed to children's television, namely print media organs of German intellectual culture.