Academic Forum

Expand your horizons, take time to reflect

Introducing the Netherlands - Dutch Literature in Translation! *

Most people outside of the Netherlands are familiar with some Dutch literary works through their cinematic adaptations. Despite this exposure, Dutch literature did not have similar widespread appeal abroad. Is the tide turning for the Big Three of Dutch Literature? What do the books of these authors have to say to an international public at the beginning of the 21th century? In this English lecture, we will read fragments from three novels of Reve (The evenings), Hermans (Beyond sleep) and Mulisch (The assault) and discuss their ‘translatability’. (language: English)

Program information
Date Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Time 13:00- 13:45 (12:45 welcome with coffee and tea)
Location Black Box, Esplanade Building, Tilburg University
Admission free (no registration required)
Guest Dr. Sander Bax, associate professor Tilburg school of Humanities
Organisation I*ESN in corporation with Academic Forum
Contact Annelieke Koster
*Certificate This activity may count towards the Certificate Academic Forum

The Big Three of Dutch Literature

In the second half of the 20th century, three Dutch literary writers became well-known as the Big Three of Dutch Literature: Gerard Reve, Willem Frederik Hermans and Harry Mulisch. The first two lived abroad (in Belgium mostly), the latter stayed in Amsterdam almost his whole life. Mulisch was the only one to reach considerable international success. Both his 1982 novel The Assault as his 1992 novel The discovery of heaven received great reviews in Britain and the United States.

Hermans and Reve, on the other hand, have long been considered to write ‘too Dutch’ to become internationally famous. In 2007, the French translation of Willem Frederik Hermans’ De donkere kamer van Damocles (La Chambre noire de Damoclès) was hardly noticed in the French press, in spite of the efforts of international author Milan Kundera to put the book in the spotlights. In the 1960s, Reve decided to write English for a while in order to win the English market – but without any success. In the case of Reve, his ‘untranslatability’ seemed to be linked to his unique use of the Dutch Language. It wasn’t until 2016 that Reve’s novel De avonden (The Evenings) became available for the international book market. Surprisingly, this typical Dutch novel from the 1950s got great reviews in the British newspapers.

Is the tide turning for the Big Three of Dutch Literature?  What do the books of these three authors have to say to an international public at the beginning of the 21th century? In this lecture, we will read fragments from three novels of Reve (The evenings), Hermans (Beyond sleep) and Mulisch (The assault) and discuss their ‘translatability’.

Lecturer

Dr. Sander Bax is an associate professor of Literature and Cultural History at Tilburg University, writer and critic.

See also: ‘The Evenings’: the Dutch masterpiece that English readers missed out on for 70 years (Univers).

Introducing the Netherlands

This lecture is part of a series which will tell you everything about The Netherlands! The event is open to all students, faculty members and others.

 

When: 16 May 2017 13:00

End date: 16 May 2017 13:45