Tear Down This House

The Poetry of Tonnus Oosterhoff Where the origins of modern poetry lie is something that you can philosophise about for a long time, but few would dispute that the compact oeuvre of Stéphane Mallarmé constitutes a benchmark. He was not the first poet to apply himself to writing largely incomprehensible poems, but he attracted more…

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…

A Convenient Desert

The Low Countries as a Refuge for the Spirit René Descartes first arrived in the Netherlands in 1618. An officer in the young Republic’s army, which was more or less idle because of the Twelve Years’ Truce, he stayed in Breda for about a year. Subsequently he spent a few years travelling round Central Europe…