Posts Tagged ‘Netherlands

Flickr favorites, lately


1. Assembling the bodies on AEC bus chassis, 1937, 2. Sound technicians setting up the turn-table and amplifiers for the first “talkies” in Australia, 1927-1928, 3. IMG_0423.JPG, 4. Ice mask, C.T. Madigan / photograph by Frank Hurley, 5. Drie pantertjes geboren in Artis, 6. Three young men with Penny-Farthing bicycles, 7. Deteriorating farmhouse, 8. Tiffin Time, 9. Eclipses luminarium (Cyprian Leowitz, 1554) r, 10. Child performers, c. 1920s-30s / by Sam Hood, 11. Cary Bay Zoo, 1954 / Sam Hood, 12. Do the Dead Ever Talk?, 13. The beetle collectors, 14. The curiosity collector, 15. Wall and mud flats – early Jan 2009, 16. seasidewaysidefront


Character building

From signandsight, again, Cees Nooteboom on a classic of Dutch literature:


I know of no other book whose characters keep each other in such a stranglehold of withheld information, until it seems as if the story itself is being played out in a cocoon of silence…

The book is Karakter, by Ferdinand Bordewijk (1938), a merciless study of a father-son relationship played out amid the mean, and now vanished, streets of pre-war Rotterdam. The cover shown above is from the current Dutch edition, the 40th. Whether it “misses the quintessence of the book”, as Nooteboom feels, or not, I can’t say, but it made me read his article, and it would certainly make me pick the book up in a bookshop. Peter Owen published a translation in 1966, now unfortunately out-of-print , which I’d like to get hold of.

More about Karakter at the excellent site of the NLPVF [The Foundation for the Production and Translation of Dutch Literature].

Written by Dave Lovely

August 28, 2007 at 9:01 am