The Scattered ‘I’

The Ambivalent Work of Paul de Wispelaere The work of the Flemish writer, essayist and critic Paul de Wispelaere (1928-) is highly characteristic of the development of literature and literary criticism in Dutch during the second half of the twentieth century. When he came on the scene in the mid-sixties, De Wispelaere was much impressed…

Extract from ‘Blue Mondays’

After my vacation I took a job in a pharmacy owned by a man I knew from the synagogue. His name was Mr Hausmann and he collected Smurfs. My parents thought it was a good idea for me to have a job. So that I’d come to realise what time and money really meant, my…

Four Poems by Maurice Gilliams

The wolf in Winter in the old bed with her when the howling of the heart shrinks to a murmur; in the dark, names grow on their fear as on a vine with the taste of the lamb’s blood in their wine. The nights are as in their parents’ time, long ago, the house buckles…

‘A Living Idea in Time’

The Work of Maurice Gilliams When asked in an interview: ‘You are a poet, a writer of prose, and an essayist, which one are you the most or which one would you rather be, or which one are you really?’ Maurice Gilliams (1900-1982) replied with a quote from a study he himself had written on…

Writer in the Public Debate

On Stefan Hertmans Since he was first profiled in this yearbook (The Low Countries 1998-1999), the Flemish-Belgian writer Stefan Hertmans (born 1951) has developed significantly as an artist. Hertmans started out as a poet but came to the attention of the general public primarily as a novelist, with books such as Terug naar Merelbeke (Back…

The Courage of the Critical Intellect

The Work of Stefan Hertmans As a poet, prose writer, critic, essayist and playwright, Stefan Hertmans (1951-) is probably one of the most multifaceted Flemish writers of his generation. And although his writing originally came up against a certain amount of resistance from literary critics, it now proves to be among the most highly prized. Hertmans made…

In Search of Self

New Prose Writing in Dutch after 1985 Revisor Prose The wave of innovation which gave rise to the ‘new’ prose of the 1980s first made its appearance in the Netherlands with the publication in 1974 of the literary journal De revisor. The generation of young writers which it brought to the fore — Dirk Ayelt…

With a View of the Landscape

The Poetic World of Miriam Van hee The Flemish poet Miriam Van hee, born in Ghent in 1952, read Slavonic studies at university and has translated poetry by Anna Akhmatova, Osip Mandelstam and Joseph Brodsky into Dutch. She debuted in 1978 with Het karige maal (‘The scanty meal’) and has since published ten collections, including…