Flemish Master of the Small Canvas

In Praise of Willem Elsschot Willem Elsschot’s (1882-1960) eleven novellas, with their irony, sardonic humour and stylistic sophistication, are as vibrant today as when they were written. Five works have so far been translated into English. In 1963 the great trio of stories, Soft Soap, The Leg and Will ‘o the Wisp appeared in one…

The Marriage

When he once noticed how the mists of time were dimming his wife’s eyes and snuffing out their glow, had worn and marked her face and touched her hair with snow, he turned away from her and regret gnawed at him. He was beside himself, he cursed and tore his hair, measured her with his…

My cheese will is made

An Extract from Willem Elsschot’s Cheese 1933 sees the publication of Willem Elsschot’s short novel Cheese (Kaas). His protagonist Laarmans, a clerk working for a port authority, is inveigled into setting up as a dealer in cheese, but comes to grief because the work goes against his abilities and his nature. And so a novel…