Netherlands Literature

The panorama of Dutch literature over the last twenty years, which has changed thanks to the many new names, is generally divided into three currents.

According to itypejob, faithful to itself, but somewhat isolated from the general public, is the modernist current aligned around the avant-garde magazine Raster (“Retino”, 1967-72; occasionally continued as a series of volumes from 1973 to 1976, it resumed publication from 1977), whose collaborators cultivate above all a type of experimentation that favors the use of language as an expressive material in itself, which is reflected in a work of fiction. An example is the editor HC ten Berge (b. 1938) who applies, in the footsteps of E. Pound, poetic techniques based on the editing of other texts; in the epic poem Texaanse elegieën (“Texan Elegies”, 1983) shifts the usual perspective of the reader, also contrasting various cultures that flourished in different periods. In recent collections, his work proves to be more accessible to the reader.

In Raster, heir to Merlijn’s (1962-66) formula of ” ergocentric ” structural analysis, much space is devoted to the relationship between literature and linguistics. Literary criticism is not limited to Dutch borders: typical of the international setting is the collection of essays Terugschrijven (“Respond by letter”, 1987) by one of the most representative authors of the journal, JF Vogelaar (pseud. Of F. Broers, n. 1944). To the attention for the international avant-garde – with connections, among other things, in Italy (E. Sanguineti) – is now added that for the relations between literature and society, giving space to the theories of Barthes, Foucault, Adorno, Benjamin.

In the environment of Raster, in addition to ten Berge and Vogelaar, other personalities stand out such as: R. Bloem (b.1932), also raised in the tradition of the “ logopoeia ” of E. Pound, literary critic and translator of authors like Mallarmé, Apollinaire, Joyce; the ” Cinquantisti ” poet G. Kouwenaar (b. 1923), who in turn influenced the poetry of H. Faverey (1933-1990); and also more established authors, such as G. Krol (b.1934) and J. Bernlef (pseud. by HJ Marsman, b.1937; in 1994 he received the PC Hooft prize for poetry), alongside the younger poets Netherlands Nijmeijer (b.1947) and W. Kusters (b.1947).

A reaction to literary experimentalism was born in the seventies when, for example. in the Manifest voor de jaren zeventig (“Manifesto for the 1970s”), various authors opted for “readable” texts. One of the signatories, H. Heeresma (b. 1932), developed a particular style in those years – eg. in Han de Wit gaat in ontwikkelingshulp (“Han de Wit goes voluntary in underdeveloped countries”, 1972) – consisting of a mixture of slapstick and parody, against a background of acute pessimism.

In these same years the first works of the biologist M. ‘t Hart (b. 1944) were also published, considered representative of this traditionalist current. In novels such as Een vlucht regenwulpen (1978; trans. It., A flight of curlews, 1984), or in De jacobsladder (“Jacob’s ladder”, 1986), he develops the theme of Calvinist and Puritan youth, of individual solitude, besides demonstrating, in his essays, a wide erudition. Notable, from his late debut in 1976 onwards, the short stories by FB Hotz (b. 1922) – including the collection Eb en vloed (“High and low tide”, 1987) -, in which he acutely draws a world without illusions, as also in the novel De vertekening (“The falsified image”, 1991). The work of JM Biesheuvel (b. 1939), on the other hand, underlines the absurdity of human existence. The production of the diplomat F. Springer (pseud. By CJ Schneider, b. 1932) is more ironic: see in particular the short stories Bougainville (1981) and Bandoeng-Bandung (1993). Moving is the novel on dementia, Hersenschimmen (“Chimere”, 1984), by J. Bernlef. Against the current the production of G. Komrij (b. 1944), poet, essayist and, finally, novelist, eg. in Over de bergen (“Over the mountains”, 1990) which takes place in Portugal, where the author currently lives.

Typical in these ” traditional ” works is the attention paid to realistic life data, while the narrative perspective often focuses on a single character. Among the works that focus on the theme of the dignity of the individual, several elaborate experiences lived in the Second World War, among others those of J. Oberski (b.1938), Kinderjaren (1978; trans. It., Years of childhood, 1982, from which R. Faenza drew the film Jonas who lived in the whale, 1993), A. Tellegen (b. 1941), De dood van lott Miesje (“The death of aunt Miesje”, 1984), GL Durlacher (b. 1928), Drenkeling (“The drowned”, 1987), C. Friedman (b. 1952), Twee koffers vol (“Two suitcases full”, 1992). The novels of J. Brouwer (b. 1939), Bezonken rood (“Red deposited”, 1981) are held in Japanese concentration camps, in Indonesia in the years 1942-45, or in any case on experiences lived in the former colonies. by M. Ferguson (b. 1920), Elias in Batavia en in Jakarta (“Elia in Batavia and Jakarta”, 1977) or Chaos (“Chaos”, 1989); and by Netherlands Gomes (b. 1932) Het kind met de clownspop (“The girl with the clown doll”, 1987). In this context, the essays by R. Kousbroek (b. 1929) in Het Oost-Indisch Kampsyndroom (“The concentration camp syndrome in the East Indies”, 1992) are important. Among the extra muros literaturein the West Indies, on the other hand, the work of Tip Marugg (b. in Curaçao in 1923) stands out, as De morgen loeit weer aan (“The morning reappears bellowing”, 1988).

Vast female and partially feminist production. In addition to the prose by H. Meinkema (pseud. By H. Stamperius-Nelemans, n. 1943), the short stories by T. de Loo (b. 1946), De meisjes van de suikerwerkfabriek (“The girls of the sugar factory ” , 1985; by the same author to remember the novel De tweeling, “The twins”, 1993), by N. Heykamp (b. 1944), De stenenzoekers (“The stone collectors”, 1985), by H. de Graaf ( 1951), including Aanklacht tegen onbekend (“Accusation against the unknown”, 1987) and De regels van het huis (“The rules of the house”, 1987); also striking is the lively originality of R. Dorrestein (b. 1954) in Buitenstaanders (” Heden ik (“Today I”, 1993). Always on a very high level and with growing popularity H. Haasse (b. 1918), of whose numerous works we remember Mevrouw Bentinck of Onverenigbaarheid van karakter (“Mrs. Bentinck or the Incompatibility of character”, 1978) and the splendid Heren van de thee (“The lords of tea”, 1992), both derived and elaborated on the basis of some family archives. Still at the beginning of her career, however, it is C. Palmen (b. 1955) who, in De wetten (“The laws”, 1991, trans. It. 1993), describes the search for identity by a young woman, through a game of mirrors. The surprising novel De virtuoos (“The virtuoso”, 1993) by M. de Moor (b. 1941) takes place in the Italian opera world, around the successes of a “castrato” singer in Naples in the eighteenth century. Close to this current, but with a different conception of the same reality, is WF Hermans (see App. IV, ii, p. 132), an author already established in previous decades, neo-positivist and at the same time neo-romantic, eternal researcher of the truth in a world, in his opinion, not knowable (except through science), and whose characters – even in the most recent publications such as Een heilige van de horlogerie (“A saint of horology”, 1987) and Au pair (“On equal terms”, 1989) -, while interpreting their everyday life,

With the foundation of the magazine De Revisor (“Il revisore”, 1973), the third current was born, baptized by critics as “academicism”. The writers around this magazine, exploring the relationship between fiction and reality in examples of international literature (JL Borges, V. Nabokov, W. Gombrowicz) and attributing a decisive importance to form, produce works rich in interpretative stratifications.

In fact, the publications of the editors of the journal D. Ayelt Kooiman (n.1946) or N. Matsier (pseud. Of T. Reinsma, n.1945), as well as of the former editor F. Kellendonk (1951), could invite these analyzes. -1989), e.g. in Bouwval (” Ruin “, 1977) or in Mystiek lichaam (“Mystical body”, 1986), as well as the interconnected short stories of D. Meijsing (b. 1947) in Utopia of de geschiedenissen van Thomas (“Utopia o le stories of Thomas “, 1982); or the works of Oek de Jong (b. 1952) Cirkel in het gras (“Circle in the grass”, 1985), of L. de Winter (b. 1954) – eg. the enigmatic Zoeken naar Eileen W. (“Looking for Eileen W.”, 1981), Kaplan (1986), love story and analysis of Jewish identity or De ruimte van Solokov (“The space of Solokov”, 1993) -; or the trilogy De tandeloze tijd (“Toothless time”, from 1983) by AF Th. van der Heijden (b. 1951), and the novels by G. Meijsing (b. 1950) Veranderlijk en wisselvallig (“Variable and unstable”, 1986), Het Leven uit een dag (“Life in a day”, 1988).

In this context we can also insert the production of the older G. Reve, who returned to the limelight with the novel Bezorgde ouders (“Worried Parents”, 1988), and by C. Nooteboom (b. with travel reports, he suddenly attracted attention with a novel like Rituelen (“Rituals”, 1980) – the rituals that structure both individual and supra-individual life in Western culture. His Een lied van schijn en wezen (“The song of being and of appearing “, 1981, trans. It., 1990) attracted the attention of critics. Always remarkable is the production of H. Mulisch: his novels Twee vrouwen (“Two women”, 1975) and Hoogste tijd (“Ultimo momento”, 1985), at first sight easy to read, actually have a high symbolic value, even though they have not received the international success of De aanslag (1982; trans. It., The attack, 1986). Also worthy of mention is his philosophical essay De compositie van de wereld (“The composition of the world”, 1980), an analysis of existential reality starting from the phenomenon of paradox. The voluminous De ontdekking van de hemel (“The discovery of the sky”, 1993), a very intertwined novel, combines a great breadth of themes dear to the author.

The subdivision into three literary currents can also be adopted in poetry. In fact, alongside the already mentioned Raster poets, we find those engaged in traditional realism that they publish in Tirade (“Tirata”), a magazine operating in the ” discursive ” tradition, following the footsteps of the Forum magazine of the 1930s; among them J. Herzberg (b. 1934) and R. Kopland (pseud. by RH van den Hoofdakker, b. 1934) stand out. The third current is divided between the magazines De Revisor – which mainly hosts poets, called neo-symbolists, such as H. Verhagen (b.1939), Jan Kuyper (b.1947), A. Korteweg (b.1944) – and Maatstaf (“Measure”), with the classical poems by Ida Gerhardt (n. 1905) and, more rarely, by M. Vasalis (pseud. Of M. Droogleever Fortuyn – Leenmans, n. 1909) and E. de Waard (n.. 1940) related to them; and with those of the neo-romantic W. Wilmink (b.1936), G. Komrij (b.1944) and L. Weemoedt (pseud. by IJ van Wijk, b.1948): all poets who show a predilection for classical verse, in rhyme, without disdaining the sonnet. Regarding the authors of the last generation, the award-winning R. Wieg (b.1962) and the poetesses A. Brassinga (b.1948) with the collection Aurora (1987) and A. Enquist (b.1945) with Soldatenliederen (“Songs of soldiers”, 1991), it should however be noted that in recent years the previously valid subdivision, according to currents of magazines, has lost its relevance: literary magazines are now more and more interchangeable.

Netherlands Literature