Netherlands Literature 1979

By | December 1, 2021

Without a doubt in the post-war period Dutch and Flemish literature, despite the different socio-cultural realities, tend to unite, making their division increasingly artificial in the future, and aspire to rise to a European level, participating, in some cases, to international currents.

In the Dutch Netherlands literature we must first of all note a notable gap between the pre- and post-war period, with the death of the predominant poets J. Slauerhoff and H. Marsman, and the more authoritative critics M. ter Braak and E. du Perron. To link the two periods we find the multiform S. Vestdijk (v.), The poet A. Roland Holst (1888-1977), M. Nijhoff (1894-1953) and the poets who formed around the Criterium magazine including G. Achterberg (v.), M. Vasalis (1909), B. Aafjes (1914) and E. Hoornik (1910-1970). The poetry of the latter assumed, after the war, a more pregnant character, for example. in Het menselijk bestaan (“Human existence”, 1951) or in the more recent De Vis(“The fish”, 1962). Among the new literature, directly inspired by the war and with the passing of time more and more objective – but no longer so confident in the goodness of man as the now very famous Het Achterhuis (“Diary”, 1946) by A. Frank – we mention A. Herzberg, Amor fati, 1945, WF Hermans, De tranen der acacia’s (“The tears of the acacias”, 1949), J. Presser, De nacht der Girondijnen (“The night of the Girondins”, 1957), M. Minco, Het bittere kruid (“The bitter grass”, 1957) and, above all, WF Hermans, De donkere kamer van Damocles (“The dark room of Damocles”, 1958).¬†For Netherlands 2013, please check

As in many other countries of the “old world”, even in the Netherlands B, it was the hard experience of the Second World War, together with the fear of its recovery (international tensions, the existence of increasingly destructive weapons, the acquired awareness of the cruelty of which man is capable), to give the decisive imprint to the most recent literature. The conviction of the uncertainty and absurdity of human existence, frustrations, a strong feeling of disappointment, pushed us to face reality in a more crude way, sometimes with the pleasure of demolishing traditional values, but always with a fundamental attitude of honesty. moral. The first exponents of this generation are the writers GK van het Reve, WF Hermans (v.), H. Mulisch (v.), Who were followed, in the 1960s, by men of letters such as J. Wolkers, A. Koolhaas, J. Hamelink, A. Burnier, H. Heeresma, also of traditional style and imbued with the aforementioned spirit. J. Wolkers (1925), whose theme of the sensitive young man repressed by the figure of his father (or brother), faced with non-conformism, aroused the interest of a large youth audience (among other things in the collections of short stories).Serpentina’s petticoat, “S. ‘s petticoat “, 1961; Gesponnen suiker, ” Cotton candy “, 1963; and in the novels Een roos van vlees, “A rose of flesh”, 1963; Terug naar Oegstgeest, “Return to the West “, 1965); likewise A. Koolhaas (1912) with his identification above all in the animal psyche and, through this, in that of men, produces effects that can upset because they highlight the cruelty of the laws of nature, in a fabric that is at the same time very sensitive, for example. in Vanwege een tere huid (“Because of a delicate skin”, 1973) and De geluiden van de eerste dag(“The sounds of the first day”, 1975); J. Hamelink (1939), on the other hand, has as its theme the isolation of man, felt as an animistic regression up to a connection with the protoelements earth, stone, water, for example. in the short story Het plantaardig bewind (“The vegetable kingdom”, 1964) and in the novels Ranonkel (“Ranuncolo”, 1969) and Afdaling in de ingewanden (“Descent into the intestines”, 1975); H. Heeresma (1932) exposes both the desolation and wickedness of man, and, with biting sarcasm, the hypocrisy of petty-bourgeois life (Een dagje naar het strand, “A day at the beach”, 1962, also trans. in Italian; De verloedering van de Swieps, “The flaking of the S.”, 1967); the writer A. Burnier (1931, pseud. of CI Dessaur) proposes intelligent psychological analyzes of young women in search of their identity, connected with homosexual problems and the emancipation of women (Een tevreden lach, “A happy rice”, 1965; De huilende libertijn, “The Weeping Libertine”, 1970).

The new generation of the seventies also follows the traditional trend, with an unadorned content. Through a classic novel such as Een romance (“Una romance”, 1975) by DA Kooiman (1946) or the verbose stories, with an autobiographical background, by JM Biesheuvel (1939) in In de bovenkooi (“In the upper berth”, 1972), we thus arrive at a writer who is tied to the Dutch pessimist realism of the beginning of the century of M. Emants and J. van Oudshoorn, namely Mensje van Keulen (1946) with the novels Bleekers zomer (“The summer of B.”, 1972) and Van lieverlede (“A little by little”, 1975). Also noteworthy are the books by M. ‘tHart (1944) Stenen voor een ransuil (“Stones for an owl”,(“The pious people”, 1976); by FM Arion (1936) Dubbelspel (“Double Game”, 1973) or Afscheid van de koningin (“Farewell from the Queen”, 1957); by L. Ferron (1942), by H. Vervoort (1939).

Alongside the “official” literature, the current of humor developed independently, a genre practiced with great success by G. Bomans (1913-1971) and S. Carmiggelt (1913). The experimental trend, which developed alongside the traditional one, is generally in close connection with literary currents and theories. The associative collage prose of B. Schierbeek (1918) in Het boek Ik (“The book I”, 1951) cannot be seen isolated from the Vijftigers movement (see below), as well as, even if more intellectualistically, it comes from S. Polet (1924, pseud. Of S. Minnema) with his renewing narrative, especially in the novel Breekwater(1961). Of the more recent generation we should remember G. Krol (1934), who wrote the first Dutch semiological novel, alternating texts with mathematical figures, in Het gemillimeterde hoofd (“The millimeter head”, 1967), L. van Marissing (1942) who uses effects of alienation, also through role reversals of the characters, and the most interesting of this current, JF Vogelaar (1944, pseud. by F. Broers), who, through a Marxist-materialist vision, demolishes literature and language itself (now considered corrupt by him) to the extreme degree of fragmentation, in Anatomie van een glasachtig lichaam (“Anatomy of a vitreous body”, 1966).

However, the triumphal entry of experimentalism into Dutch literature, especially poetry, occurs earlier, already at the end of the 1940s, when it was a new phenomenon since the pre-war international avant-gardes – with some exceptions – had never taken root. The Experimentelen (“Experimentalists”), later called the Vijftigers (“Cinquantisti”), linked to the figurative arts and in contact with foreign currents (Cobra), they try to render the total chaos of the world in their work and, also, to involve the reader, causing shock effects in abandoning every metric, syntactic, sometimes even semantic tradition, in returning to the babble of the child, in an attempt to restore to the word its original charge or a new associative force. Among them, their precursor H. Lodeizen (1924-1950) must be remembered; the poet-painter Lucebert (1924, pseud. by LJ Swaanswijk); G. Kouwenaar (1923), who, always renewing himself, will influence the poetry of H. Faverey (1933) at the beginning of the Sixties; the “prophet” S. Vinkenoog (1928); R. Campert (1929); the Flemish H. Claus (v.). In the 1960s, Dutch poetry was divided into some currents. Connect with Gard Sivik magazinewe find, among other things, CB Vaandrager (1935) and H. Verhagen (1939), who are part of a “neorealist” group that disapproves of the personalistic poetry of the Vijftigers and tries, instead, to remove any sentimental effusion from the poem. Thus also the editors of the magazine “for texts” Barbarber (1958-71), including K. Schippers (1936, pseud. Of G. Stigter) and J. Bernlef (1937, pseud. Of HJ Marsman) intervene as little as possible between the reader and everyday reality, isolating commonplaces or offering ready-made texts (the ready – mades). The poets around the Tirade magazine(“Tirata”, 1957), including R. Kopland (1934, pseud by RH van den Hoodakker) and J. Emmens (1924-1971), write a personal lyric, somewhat anecdotal, in a casual style. The neo-romantic current dates back to the second half of the sixties, whose poetry sometimes takes on nineteenth-century features; the genre is performed by poets such as G. Komrij (1944), WD Kuik (1929) and also by GK van het Reve, and is connected with the romantic realism of K. Ouwens (1944). In opposition to the aforementioned poetic currents is the intellectual address of the magazine Raster (“Rastrello”, 1967-73), in which J. Hamelink (1939) and R. Bloem (1932) collaborate, and of which the poet HC ten Berge (1938), influenced by E. Pound, was the engine; their poetry (gestaltepoezie) look for links to history.

In criticism and non-fiction, we remember the magazine Merlyn (“Merlino”, 1962-66), which, opposing the personalistic current that followed in the footsteps of Forum, is placed in the tradition of new criticism, and had a considerable influence. Also noteworthy are the other publications of the editors JJ Oversteegen (1926), Kees Fens (1929) and HU Jessurun d’Oliveira (1933). A separate genre form the original essays by D. Hillenius (1927).

Netherlands Literature 1979