Disruptive Images, Historical Friction

On the Work of David Van Reybrouck Will things work out well for David Van Reybrouck? The awards that have rained down on this young writer (b. 1971) in a scant ten years feel like a tropical storm. And that, please note, in the Low Countries! Has the literary climate lost its way? Or has…

Growing up in Public

Josse De Pauw, the Marlon Brando of Flemish Theatre In Avignon they once called him ‘the Marlon Brando of Flemish theatre’. Then what would one call Josse De Pauw (1952) as a film actor? Or as a writer, director or head of a theatre company? Underlying everything he does is a great sincerity. His story…

The Making of a Translator

There was a framed Dutch proverb hanging on the wall in my parents’ house. Embroidered in gold on black satin, it read: ‘Gezelligheid kent geen tijd’ – ‘Time flies when you’re having fun’. It was a gift from the Netherlands, from when my father’s brother had studied classical languages at Utrecht University in the 1950s.…