Deeper and Deeper into the Forest

On the Work of Oek de Jong Before the publication of Pier en oceaan (Pier and Ocean, 2012), I asked myself once or twice whether it would be more accurate to refer to the work of Oek de Jong’s ‘pens’ rather than the work of his ‘pen’. After all, each new book bearing his name…

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…

A Dutch Exotic in His Own Country

On the Writer Maarten ’t Hart He is coming increasingly to resemble the prolific Simon Vestdijk (1898-1971) from Doorn, author of 52 novels, 23 collections of essays and thousands of poems, whom he greatly admired. Poems aside, the total output of Maarten ’t Hart (1944) is getting fairly close: 19 novels, 9 collections of stories…

Raging Against Deficiency

Anneke Brassinga The world does not fit us. Screaming and helpless, to quote Lucretius, we wash up like castaways on the shore of life, where for a few decades we wander around feverishly in a realm we will never understand, where in the end we miserably disintegrate and ingloriously rot away. Throughout our lives we…