Netherlands Literature: From The 18th to The 20th Century Part II

Netherlands Literature - From The 18th to The 20th Century Part II

Only a few authors, such as Hermans (1921-95), van het Reve (b.1923) and Blaman (1906-60), manage to break away from this legacy. The criticism, still strongly determined by moral convictions, reacts in shock to their works, in which the total absence of superior values ​​and a vision of love closely linked to sexuality is striking. Exemplary is the evenings (1947) by Gerard Kornelis van het Reve, a novel of a generation that offers a precise picture of the interests of modern youth who, disillusioned by the world conflict, bid farewell to the ideals of the pre-war generation. Religious sentiments are then treated with pure cynicism (in the first Van het Reve) or are the object of fierce criticism (Hermans). The Vijftigers poetry revolt (the group of the fifties) is also framed in the international context of the reaction of a generation that comes to terms with war, without being able to speak of a precise influence. Driven by the ideal of an original Adamic language, this group develops a theme that accentuates corporality, considering language as the poet’s material. Barbarber and Gard-Sivik. Authors such as Schippers (b.1936), Bernlef (b.1937) and Hanlo (1912-69) compose poems that describe everyday experiences in colloquial language. But since the end of the sixties there has been a return to recognizable emotions in the poem published in the magazine Tirade. The developments in the prose of the last decades of the century. XX are characterized by the dialectic between realism and counter-movements. Except for a few rare cases, the prose remained faithful to the canons of realism until the early 1960s, and only with Polet (b.1924) and a few others, probably influenced by the nouveau roman, we are witnessing texts in which the illusion of reality is purposely destroyed. At the end of the seventies, a period in which a restorative drive had manifested itself that had favored a return to introspection and reworking of the past, identifiable in authors such as Marten T’Haart (b.1944), innovative ferments began to emerge in the panorama cultural heritage of the country.

The phenomenon has increasingly manifested itself in the continuous search for new orientations and addresses that break with the past, both on a formal and a content level. The redefinition of the meaning of life and of one’s own identity seems to unite a large number of writers from that moment, despite the differences of generation. Representative of this trend are the country’s three leading novelists, Cees Nooteboom (b.1933), Harry Mulisch (b.1927) and the Flemish Hugo Claus(b.1929). Thanks to their first great successes, respectively Rituals (1980), The Attack (1982) and The Punishments of Flanders (1983), Dutch literature has once again established itself on the international stage. Regardless of the diversity of their intentions and styles, these three authors have attempted a “recapitulation” of the last four decades of the twentieth century, observing them with the critical detachment of those who have definitively taken their leave. Women’s literature, which for the most part can be defined as distinctly feminist, has known ever greater growth. Among the main exponents of this important trend are remarkably talented authors such as Margriet de Moor (b.1941), Anja Meulenbelt (b.1945), Monika van Paemel (b.1945), Hermine de Graaf (b.1951), Kristien Hemmerechts (b.1955), Renate Dorrestein (b.1954) and the Flemish Patricia de Martelaere (b.1957). Among the emerging authors of the 1980s, Leon de Winter (b.1954) and Marcel Möring (b.1957) deserve mention. Among the most significant and promising voices of the postmodern novel is AF Th. Van der Heijden (b.1951), who gained attention in 1984 with the cycle Il tempo senza dente. In the 1980s and 1990s Flemish literature also underwent considerable impetus with authors such as Tom Lanove (b.1958), Leonard Nolens (b.1947), Kristien Hemmerechts, Dirk van Bastelaere (b.1960), Herman de Coninck (b. 1944), which they however publish in the Netherlands, so much so that in Amsterdam there is talk of a real “Flemish invasion”. If Antwerp is home to the most vital and dynamic literary environments in Flanders, Brussels, the city where distinctly international and anarchist movements such as the Cobra group and the Van Nu en Straks were born, still remains the driving force of that Flemish culture that is considered more pro-European. A certain ferment was also found in the field of poetry, subject for decades to the influence of poets such as Lucebert, well known abroad also as a draftsman, and of the “experimentalists” of the Vijftigers group. More than a Dutch-language lyric, today we speak of a Dutch-language lyric. According to softwareleverage, the borders that separate the Netherlands from other European countries are particularly open and favor a very high degree of internationalization. In a nation where opera has very different voices, almost as many as those of individual poets, even the movements are multiple and diversified. Alongside poets who take care of the genre of the conventional sonnet, there is the group of hermetics and a very soft modern lyric that favors supranational themes. Less projected towards a narcissistic cult of inner self and self, the poetry of the Netherlands is filled with a curiosity towards the outside world which leads it to favor concrete figures drawn with irony and with an amused interest in description. Among the most significant figures, in addition to the now classic Gerrit Kouwenaar (b.1923), exponents of the middle generation such as HH ter Balkt (b.1938) and J. Bernlef (b.1937) and, among the younger, Frans Budé, who is also a painter, Anna Enquist (b.1945) and Tonnus Oosterhoff (b.1953).

Netherlands Literature - From The 18th to The 20th Century Part II