Heidi (pronounced [ˈhaɪdi]) is a Swiss work of fiction, originally published in two parts as Heidi's years of learning and travel (German: Heidis Lehr- und Wanderjahre) and Heidi makes use of what she has learned. (German: Heidi kann brauchen, was sie gelernt hat) It is a novel about the events in the life of a young girl in her grandfather's care, in the Swiss Alps. It was written as a book "for children and those who love children" (as quoted from its subtitle) in 1880 by Swiss author Johanna Spyri.
Adelheid ("Heidi") is a girl who has been raised by her aunt Dete in Maienfeld, Switzerland after the early deaths of her parents, Tobias and Adelheid. Dete brings 5-year-old Heidi to her grandfather, who has been at odds with the villagers for years and lives in seclusion on the alm. This has earned him the nickname Alp-Öhi ("Alm Uncle" in the Graubünden dialect). He at first resents Heidi's arrival, but the girl manages to penetrate his harsh exterior and Heidi subsequently has a delightful stay with him and her best friend, young Peter the goat-herd.
Dete returns three years later to bring Heidi to Frankfurt am Main as a companion of a 12-year-old girl named Clara Sesemann, who is regarded as an invalid. Heidi spends a year with Clara, conflicting with the Sesemanns' strict housekeeper Fräulein Rottenmeier and becoming more and more homesick. Her one diversion is learning to read and write, motivated by her desire to go home and read to Peter's blind grandmother. Heidi's increasingly failing health, and several instances of sleepwalking cause hysteria in the household that there is a haunting, prompt Clara's doctor to send Heidi home to her grandfather. Her return prompts the grandfather to descend to the village for the first time in years, marking an end to his seclusion.
Heidi and Clara continue to contact each other. A visit by the doctor to Heidi and her grandfather convinces him to recommend Clara to visit Heidi. Meanwhile, Heidi teaches Peter to read and write. Clara makes the journey the next season and spends a wonderful summer with Heidi. Clara becomes stronger on goat's milk and fresh mountain air, but Peter, feeling deprived of Heidi's attention, pushes Clara's wheelchair down the mountain to its destruction. Without her wheelchair, Clara attempts to walk and is gradually successful. Clara's grandmother and father are amazed and overcome with joy to see Clara walking. Clara's wealthy family promises to provide a shelter for Heidi, in case her grandfather is no longer able to do so.
Film, television and theatrical adaptations
About 20 film or television productions of the original story have been made. The Heidi films were popular far and wide, becoming a huge hit and an iconic animated series in several countries around the world. The only incarnation of the Japanese-produced animated TV series to reach the English language was a dubbed feature-length compilation movie using the most pivotal episodes of the television series, released on video in the United States in 1985. Although the original book describes Heidi as having dark, curly hair, she is usually portrayed as blonde.
Versions of the story include:
- Heidi, a 1937 motion picture which starred Shirley Temple in the title role.
- Heidi, a 1952 film in Swiss German and German, directed by Luigi Comencini, starring Elsbeth Sigmund (filmed on location in Switzerland), and followed by a sequel, Heidi and Peter, in 1955, directed by Franz Schnyder, also starring Ms. Sigmund.
- A Gift for Heidi (1958), by George Templeton.
- Heidi (1959), music by Clay Warnick, adapted by William Friedberg with Neil Simon.
- Heidi, a 1968 television movie which starred Jennifer Edwards with Maximilian Schell and Michael Redgrave. Infamous for interrupting an American football game that was broadcast the same day.
- Heidi, Girl of the Alps, a 1974 Japanese anime series directed by Isao Takahata for Zuiyo Eizo (later, Nippon Animation), dubbed into various languages. Compiled into an English-dubbed movie entitled The Story of Heidi.
- Heidi, a 1974 BBC adaptation starring Emma Blake.
- Heidi, a 1978 26-episode Swiss/German television series, starring Katia Polletin as the young heroine, which was dubbed into various languages, including English.
- The New Adventures of Heidi (1978), directed by Ralph Senensky.
- Heidi's Song, a 1982 animated film produced by Hanna-Barbera.
- Heidi, a two-part television miniseries from 1993, starring Noley Thornton as Heidi. Co-stars included Jane Seymour as Miss Rottenmeier, Jason Robards as Grandfather and Lexi Randall as Clara.
- Heidi, a 1995 animated film.
- Heidi, a 2005 animated film.
- Heidi, a 2005 live action film directed by Paul Marcus.
- Heidi 4 Paws, a comedic 2008 adaptation featuring talking dogs with the voice of Angela Lansbury.
Heidiland, named after the Heidi books, is an important tourist area in Switzerland, popular especially with the Japanese (and also Korean because there's one in Korea). Maienfeld is the center of what is called Heidiland; one of the villages, formerly called Oberrofels, is actually renamed "Heididorf." Heidiland is located in an area called Bündner Herrschaft; it is criticized as being a "laughable, infantile cliche" and "a more vivid example of hyperreality."
The two sequel books, Heidi Grows Up and Heidi's Children, were neither written nor endorsed by Spyri, but were adapted from her other works by her English translator, Charles Tritten, many years after she died.
There are some major differences between the original Heidi and the Tritten sequels. These include;
- Heidi, the original story by Spyri, shows the simple life of Heidi imbued with a deep love of children and childhood. Spyri mentioned that the work was "for children and those who love children". The sequels portray Heidi in a different manner, as she grows up and gets married.
- Heidi in the first book, Heidi, is described as having, "short, black curly hair", when she is around five to eight years of age. In Heidi Grows Up, when she is fourteen, her hair is long, straight and fair.
- In some English editions of Heidi the names of the goats are translated into English (Little Swan and Little Bear), while other editions use their original Swiss-German names, Schwanli and Baerli. In Heidi Grows Up only the names Schwanli and Baerli are used.
Basis for Heidi
In April 2010, a Swiss professorial candidate, Peter Buettner, uncovered a book written in 1830 by the German author Hermann Adam von Kamp. The 1830 story is titled "Adelaid: The Girl from the Alps" (German: Adelaide, das Mädchen vom Alpengebirge). The two stories share many similarities in plot line and imagery. Spyri biographer Regine Schindler said it was entirely possible that Spyri may have been familiar with the story as she grew up in a literate household with many books.
- 2521 Heidi (an asteroid named after Heidi)
- Nathan Haskell Dole, translator of the 1899 edition
- "Swiss Literature (old link)". revue.ch. Archived from the original on October 18, 2007. Retrieved March 4, 2008.
- "Swiss Literature". admin.ch. Archived from the original on February 6, 2008. Retrieved March 4, 2008.
- Abend, Bernhard; Anja Schliebitz (2006). Schweiz. Baedeker. pp. 145–46. ISBN 978-3-8297-1071-8.
- Beattie, Andrew (2006). The Alps: a cultural history. Oxford: Oxford UP. p. 142. ISBN 978-0-19-530955-3.
- Simonis, Damien; Sarah Johnstone, Nicole Williams (2006). Switzerland. Lonely Planet. p. 274. ISBN 978-1-74059-762-3.
- Solomon, Michael R. (2006). Conquering consumerspace: marketing strategies for a branded world. Broadway: Amacom. p. 30. ISBN 978-0-8144-0741-7.
- "Basis for Heidi". Heidi inspiration.
- Heidi at Project Gutenberg
- Heidi at Project Gutenberg (illustrated)
- Heidis Lehr- und Wanderjahre at Project Gutenberg (in German)
- Heidis Lehr- und Wanderjahre Original Audiobook by Johanna Spyri[dead link]
- Heidi, online at Ye Olde Library
- Heidi, human-read audio mp3 and m4b files at Free Classic Audio Books
- Heidis Lehr- und Wanderjahre, human read audio book in German at Librivox
- Heidi, English audio book at Librivox
- Heidi (in English) free downloads in multiple ebook formats
- Heidi's Land, The official Web site (in French) for the 1980s television show with Katia Polletin (Heidi) and Stefan Arpagaus (Peter)
- Remembering Heidi: Swiss Pride at its best, by Dr. Anton Anderssen
- Swiss Heidi may in fact be German,