Two Poems

Adriana de Buuck A sixteenth-century lady, not yet twenty; the brow is narrow but young and smooth, and round it the hair is piously combed back and brown, with a fine gauze cap set on it lightly. The figure stands unmoving, all in black, and where, slipping out from the fur, the sleeves impress some…

The Tale Won’t Be Ended

The Poetry of J.H. Leopold One of the earliest publications by the poet Jan Hendrik Leopold (1865-1925), the Scherzo sequence of 1894, contains a poem that at first sight appears a model of simplicity – by Leopold’s standards at least. Leopold has the reputation of being a difficult, not to say obscure poet; which is why…

From Writer at his Own Expense to Public Phenomenon

On the Work of J.J. Voskuil It was front-page news on 26 May 1998. ‘J.J. Voskuil wins Libris Prize’ read the headline in the NRC Handelsblad, a much respected Dutch newspaper. The writer J.J. Voskuil had been named as winner of an important literary prize sponsored by a Dutch bookstore chain. A photo shows the…

Grounds for Memory

Colonial Literature from the Former Dutch East Indies The colonial literature of the Netherlands is, with the possible exception of Spanish and Portuguese letters, the most voluminous and innovative of colonial literatures in the Western world. It also has one of the longest traditions. If we restrict ourselves to the literature produced in the former…

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…