Heidi comes of age

The Japanese animated version of Heidi has helped keep the orphan girl popular

The Swiss writer, Johanna Spyri, had immediate success with her Heidi novel when it was released in 1880. But Spyri couldn't have foreseen Heidi's everlasting appeal. Three new exhibitions try to shed light on Heidi the myth and the woman behind her.

This content was published on May 18, 2001 minutes

The exhibitions, beginning on May 22, are part of a series of events to mark the centenary of the death of Johanna Spyri.

At the Strauhof Museum in Zurich, "Heidi: Myth - Brand - Media star", focuses on Heidi's popularity. Not only has the Heidi novel sold about 50 million copies and been translated into 50 different languages, the story of the orphan girl has been turned into plays, cartoon, comics, television series and films (the latest film was released earlier this year).

And, as the Strauhof exhibition illustrates, nowhere is Heidi's timeless appeal as great as in Japan.

Photographs and excerpts from letters, as well as recreations, provide a glimpse into the life of the author at the Spyri Archive, located on the Zurich street where Spyri spent the last years of her life.

The fact that Spyri was the author of other works is easily forgotten. The Johanna Spyri Museum in Spyri's hometown of Hirzel, near Zurich, is devoting its exhibition to her complete works - which numbered more than 40.


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