A Guided Tour of the Gilded Cage

Jan Van Loy Takes the Reader by the Ear ‘It’s not very nice when the rest of the world sees you as an idle layabout’, Jan Van Loy (1964-) told the Flemish newspaper De Standaard in 2006. For years he had cherished the dream of becoming a writer, but not a single text had ever…

In the Shelter of the Village

Dimitri Verhulst In recent years the Flemish thirty-somethings have been cutting a dash in Dutch-language literature. Even in the Netherlands people are impressed by this generation of writers who are all in their thirties and are reverting to the techniques of modernism. They shrug their shoulders at post-modern irony and want to tell tales again…

‘Awater’ in the UK

Martinus Nijhoff’s First English Volume Two gentlemen in a restaurant in Nijmegen. During dinner one of them says with a sigh what a shame it is to write poetry in a language that reaches so few people as Dutch does. This means that his readership remains somewhat limited, and that weighs on his heart. Eventually…

Loss, Longing and Lamentation

The Work of Oscar van den Boogaard Since the publication in 1995 of his great novel Julia’s Delight (De heerlijkheid van Julia), the Dutch writer Oscar van den Boogaard, who was born in 1964, has been considered to be one of the finest literary talents in the Dutch-speaking world. The novel depicts the life of…

Remco Campert and the Dubious Lightness of Being

If ever a writer in Dutch literature was blessed with eternal youth, that writer was Remco Campert. For decades his books bore witness to an almost provocative insouciance, which was perfectly expressed by the boyish, slightly mocking laugh in most of his portraits. His own preferred image of himself was as he appeared on the…