Towards a critical patriotism: the challenge to traditional notions of national identity posed by the Dutch historical novel in the 1930s.
The idea that literature shapes rather than reflects context is not new, as Herbert Butterfield's 1924 essay on the historical novel demonstrates. In it he notes that the historical novel 'is often born of a kind of patriotism; it can scarcely avoid always being the inspiration of it' and 'in this way it becomes itself a power in history, an impulse to fine feeling, and a source of more of the action and heroism which it describes. The historical novel itself becomes a maker of history.' (4) This power, according to Butterfield, comes from the fact that the historical novel has its 'roots in the soil' (p. 41). The 'feeling for the history that breathes through the soil' can induce patriotism where none was intended. Not surprisingly, according to Butterfield, it is the 'epic of national liberty' that 'is specially calculated to produce the precise feeling that it describes, to stir readers to the aspirations that are its theme, to be a force for liberty itself' (p. 88). In this account of the historical novel, then, a story about the past can act upon the present. The starting point of my discussion is that the historical novel, even though its subject matter is history, is very much of the present, of the time in which it was written.
This article investigates how three Dutch historical novels seek to engage with the patriotic sensibilities of the Dutch in the 1930s. I shall be arguing here that although the Dutch situation required a patriotic response, there was little agreement about which aspects of Dutch society and culture formed the core elements of Dutch identity. Indirectly this was due to the democratization process which led the newly emancipated (mainly middle-class women at this stage, with working-class men and women to follow) to seek to adjust the notion of Dutchness to reflect their values. A number of historical novels published in the Netherlands in this period offer a range of images of Dutchness, and I am particularly interested in two kinds of challenge to traditional notions of what constitutes Dutchness. The first is a challenge to the exclusion of women from prevailing ideas of Dutch identity, their invisibility deriving from the practice of subsuming female identity under male identity. It is provided by the novel Vrouw Jacob ('Lady Jack', known as Jacqueline of Hainaut in English and Jacoba van Beieren in Dutch) by Ina Boudier-Bakker, which appeared in 1935. The second challenge is a more complex response to nationalism by the literary and intellectual elite associated with the influential figure of Menno ter Braak. It will be illustrated by discussion of De waterman (1933) (5) by Arthur van Schendel and Schandaal in Holland ['Scandal in Holland'] (1939) by E. du Perron. Despite the shared challenge to traditional notions of Dutch identity, there is no common ground between Boudier-Bakker and the literary elite. She is a traditionalist seeking to gain acknowledgement of the presence and importance of women in Dutch society and to give them greater influence while maintaining the family as the main social unit. In common with many women in Europe after the First World War, she has no faith in men's ability to govern wisely without the leadership of women, and in Lady Jack she offers her readership a warlike patriotic hero with a difference: he is a woman. The members of the intellectual elite under discussion here reject nationalism and uncritical patriotism, preferring to promote a new critical, sober, and honest sense of Dutchness. This new sensibility is not only reflected in what Van Schendel and Du Perron portray in their novels--flawed heroes and typically Dutch landscape and cityscape--but also in the way they portray it. These writers practise what they preach: the new sobriety and honesty must inform the style in which they write and the genre they choose, even if this will entail adapting the traditional historical novel to the new circumstances.
In this article, the reception of Vrouw Jacob and De waterman will be discussed in order to give a sense both of the prevailing patriotic mood and of the varying perceptions of Dutchness, together with the equally varied responses to these literary attempts to change ideas. The reception studies will be followed by an analysis of the ways in which each historical novel depicts and engages with ideas of Dutchness. The second half of this article is given over to a detailed study of Schandaal in Holland which involves an account of Van Schendel's role as model of literary Dutchness for the younger writer, followed by an analysis of how this sober and restrained Dutchness is inscribed in Du Perron's novel, informing genre and style, but also encouraging readers to adopt a critical stance towards their own history and culture.
The reception of Boudier-Bakker's Vrouw Jacob became something of a cause celebre because of the harshness of Menno ter Braak's attack on the novel in his review in Het Vaderland, the national daily paper of which he was literary editor. In 1921 Boudier-Bakker had published a pamphlet entitled De moderne vrouw en haar tekort ['The modern woman and her shortcomings'], (6) setting out her ideas on a new, more powerful role for women. This pamphlet clearly influenced the reception of Vrouw Jacob some fourteen years later, as Ter Braak alludes toit in the title of his review, in which he mocked the book in superior tones, laughing at the combination of bravery and what he called 'boudoir hysterics' in the protagonist. (7) His sense of superiority derives from the fact that he wilfully approaches the novel as if it were historiography, criticizing Boudier-Bakker for creating a historical character with modern sensibilities and comparing the novelist unfavourably with the renowned historian Johan Huizinga (an uncle of his, by the way). The subtitle of the article was 'Op de grenzen van het plagiaat' ['On the borders of plagiarism], referring to his discovery of Boudier-Bakker's main source of information, which was the only biography of Jacqueline of Hainaut, and of instances where her book of some 450 pages stayed close to this source. When the author responded to this criticism by saying that as a historical novelist she could do as she liked, Ter Braak printed this response together with a full-blown accusation of plagiarism which repeated the earlier one with some new examples. The dispute could never be resolved by argumentation because the opponents were using different norms and thus talking at cross purposes. Boudier-Bakker insisted that fiction was different from history-writing and that historical novelists were not required to list their sources, and Ter Braak insisted on using academic norms. This issue will also be discussed later in relation to Schandaal in Holland.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Ter Braak's view dominated the debate in other papers. In surveying a total of nine reviews, one is amazed at their failure to discuss the heart of the matter: the figure of Lady Jack herself. A reviewer of Vrouw Jacob in another influential daily paper, the Algemeen Handelsblad, commenting on the popularity of the historical novel after the First World War, actually said:
Doch is het niet onwaarschijnlijk, dat een behoefte aan heldenvereering, aan bewondering voor mannen-van-de-daad [...] een verlangen heeft doen ontstaan waaraan die biographie en de historische roman tegemoet trachten te komen. (8)
It is not unlikely that a need for hero-worship, for admiration of men of action, has created a desire which biography and the historical novels are attempting to satisfy. (Emphasis added)
This betrays a striking blindness to the gender issue which is raised so blatantly by the novel. The only woman reviewer in the group, Annie Salomons in De Maasbode, is so concerned by the confrontation between Boudier-Bakker and Ter Braak that the novel rather fades into the background:
Vooral in een tijd, nu stoffelijke belangen en noden onze samenleving dreigen te over heerschen en naar beneden te trekken, moesten zij schouder aan schouder staan, omdat beide strijden voor een ideeel goed, voor de literaire cultuur van Holland. (9)
Especially in a time when material needs and concerns are threatening to overwhelm us and bring us down, they [writer and critic] should stand shoulder to shoulder, because they are both fighting for something immaterial, for the literary culture of Holland.
Ter Braak tries to discredit the author by assigning the novel to a different genre, and the other reviewers tend to follow the red herring of Boudier-Bakker's treatment of her sources. A survey of the reviews creates a strong impression that the genre itself was in flux anyway, as there is widespread disagreement in them about the nature of a historical novel and its relation to history. It is this instability that Van Schendel and Du Perron exploit for their challenge to tradition.
There is more to Ter Braak's condemnation of Vrouw Jacob than genre confusion, however. The intellectual elite were greatly concerned about the future of Dutch culture at a time when democratization represented a threat to civilization as they knew it. Perhaps the best expression of this attitude of cultural pessimism is Huizinga's essay In the Shadow of Tomorrow, which was published in English in 1936, a year after it first appeared in Dutch. (10) Comments by Ter Braak in various reviews of novels by women suggest that he thought the increasing participation of women in literature would bring about a levelling down of culture, and he adopted a strategy of excluding such women's work from the literary domain by suggesting it was not literature. (11) Viewed against this background, it is perhaps not surprising that a provocative figure like Lady Jack should elicit such a fierce response.
Vrouw Jacob is set in the fifteenth century, a time before the Dutch nation existed and domination of the Low Countries was fiercely contested. Jack becomes Countess of Holland on the death of her father, dons armour, and leads her men to victory in a fashion that echoes Joan of Arc. Although she is a warrior woman, much admired by her generals and soldiers for her bravery, Boudier-Bakker insists on her femininity by devoting much of the narrative to Jack's private life: not difficult, as the historical figure was married four times, to the Dauphin of France, the Duke of Brabant, the Duke of Gloucester and finally a lesser Dutch nobleman. The two sides of Jack's life, public and private, come together in the theme of power relations between men and women. By an accident of birth, Jack has real power and she enjoys wielding it as she sees fit. Her first three marriages are allegiances of power which bring about a clash on a personal level when Jack refuses to submit to her husband of the moment. The novel's solution is embodied in the fourth husband: a mature man willing to share power and treat his wife as an equal.
The emphasis in the novel is placed so firmly on its central character that it contains virtually no description of the physical environment beyond lists of towns and the occasional formulaic depiction of Holland which offers the familiar trope of the country's struggle against the elements. Nor does Vrouw Jacob offer a coherent portrait of Dutch society. When Jack inherits the role of 'Landsvorstin' ('ruler'), Holland is portrayed as desirable though not civilized: there are warring nobles grouped into the two factions known as 'Hoeken' ('fishhooks') and 'Kabeljouwen' ('codfish'). The noblemen are depicted either as fighting machines or, occasionally, as objects of Jack's love and desire. Ordinary people, who are generally only visible as victims or servants, occasionally come to the fore as cowardly men and heroic women, which points to another division in Dutch society as portrayed by Boudier-Bakker: into male and female spheres.
It is this gendered picture in which women are highly visible that implies a correction of the status quo. What the warring men need is someone to lead and eventually unite them. And that leader, in Boudier-Bakker's construction, is Vrouw Jacob, Holland's own Joan of Arc. Jacoba has the necessary warlike qualities to win the confidence of the Hoeken and the general populace, and to win battles, but she also suffers losses, courts political allegiances, and outwits her enemies, both the Kabeljouwen and the foreigner--the Duke of Burgundy. Her help comes not just from her trusty nobles but from sources which history books usually ignore. When the Duke of Burgundy attacks Amersfoort and he and a group of men succeed in entering the town, the male inhabitants flee in panic. An army of housewives saves the day:
Maar de vrouwen van Amersfoort, in felste drift oto den Bourgondier te keeren, rennen aan. Zij roepen honend en beschamend den verschrikten mannen toe stand te houden! (12)
But the women of Amersfoort come running up, driven by a fierce passion to drive out the Burgundian. Mocking and belittling, they call to the terrified men to stand their ground!
And a few pages later Jacoba's English supporters march on the House of Lords: 'Vrouwen die voor een vrouw opkwamen' ['Women who came to support a woman'] (p. 544). The powerful figure of Jack symbolizes a strong femininity with masculine aspects which inspires both men and women to action. The aire of Jack's fighting determination is to unite Holland, to enable it to flourish, and with her battle cry of 'Holland! Holland!' she represents the patriotic Dutchman/woman. In this sense, she conforms to Butterfield's idea of a historical novel designed to evoke 'fine feeling' and patriotism.
As Countess of Holland, Jack is the patria incarnate. But is she the mother- or the fatherland? The images of this young woman in armour, or dressed as a boy in order to escape from captivity, are powerfully symbolic, as is the name by which she is generally known--Vrouw Jacob. At one level they symbolize the conflict between the two identities, male and female, which are played out in the character herself, who is torn between her warrior nature and her feminine instincts and desires, doomed to unhappiness and failure in her relationships with her first three husbands. Her last marriage suggests that there is a solution which involves men being mature and confident enough to allow women the space to be themselves. But the name could just as easily symbolize equality, men and women working side by side in a more open culture which allowed scope for a contribution from both sexes. One construction that simply cannot be put upon this character of Lady Jack is that the male is universal and includes the female.
It seems relatively uncontroversial now to read this novel as a challenge to a traditional conception of Dutchness, and although the novel itself was controversial at the time it appeared, on the surface this had little to do with the way it hijacks the notion of a brave Dutch hero and leader and feminizes him. Nevertheless, the collective silence itself suggests that this was a subject too dangerous or disturbing to be discussed openly, which may be why so many reviewers latched on to the issue of the historical novel and its sources. The figure of Jacoba/Jack was mocked by Ter Braak, who seemed to be objecting to the way she was represented as having an emotional life alongside her political and combative role. Apparently, a strong, silent woman might be acceptable as long as there was no insistence on her femininity, since such a strong woman could then be viewed as extraordinary and thus far less threatening.
In contrast to Ter Braak's treatment of Boudier-Bakker, Arthur van Schendel was held up to the readers of Ter Braak's review of his 1936 novel De rijke man ['The rich man'] as an example:
Dit edele Nederlandsch, met de soberste middelen tot zijn grootste eenvoud teruggebracht, is een prachtig voorbeeld van wat met onze mooie taal door een groot kunstenaar kan bereikt worden [...] (13)
This noble Dutch, pared down toits greatest simplicity using the most sober means, is a wonderful example of what a great artist can achieve with our beautiful language [...]
Ter Braak's set of literary values encapsulating Dutchness thus involves simplicity achieved through sober language which is reminiscent of the austerity of Calvinism, and so links literary with traditional cultural and social values, in keeping with Ter Braak's cultural conservatism.
To what extent did the rest of Van Schendel's contemporaries see him as representing some aspect of Dutchness? The novelist Simon Vestdijk uses the phrases 'De Hollandse romans' ['the Holland novels'] and 'de "calvinistische" romans' ['the "Calvinist" novels'] mainly to indicate the setting or content of De waterman and other novels published in the 1930s. (14) Already, an element of that Dutchness can be seen in the interchangeability of 'Hollands' and Calvinist. In many of the reviews from the 1930s the novels prompt reviewers to reveal their notions of Dutch elements. Phrases such as 'Hollandse ernst' ['Dutch seriousness'], 'dit speciaal Hollandse dramatiek' ['This truly Dutch tragic story'], 'een bij uitstek Hollandse traditie' ['a pre-eminently Dutch tradition'], 'de goede Hollander' ['the good Dutchman'], or an 'echte Hollander' ['real Dutchman'] are found. Notions of national character are clearly part of the prevailing culture, whatever individual stance is taken. When Albert Helman writes:
Een steile, oerkrachtige, ondanks alle moeilijkheden tegen het leven opgewassen Hollander, die met stoere beenen op het dek van zijn schuit staat [...] (15)
An uncompromising, primitively strong Hollander who despite all difficulties takes life by the scruff of the neck, and who stands with feet firmly planted on the deck of his barge,
he seems to accept the stereotype while indicating that in the character of Maarten Rossaart in De waterman Van Schendel has created a new kind of Dutch hero who inspires sympathy but not adulation. The stereotype itself in this view is adjusted but not fatally undermined. J. W. F. Werumeus Buning responds to the character in a similar way, though he rejects the cliche forcefully:
Nu zou driekwart van onze romanschrijvers daar een stoer en stevig schippersgast van gemaakt hebben, met een flinke portie religieuze en sociale problemen en dan hadden wij er weer eens een van die fiksche nationale figuren bij gehad, die het meest lijken op een Amerikaansch reclameplakkaat voor Marken en Volendam: een held op klompen, als prentbriefkaart. Het geijkte cliche. Van Schendel's schipper Rossaart is anders. (16)
Now three-quarters of our novelists would have ruade him into a sturdy, solid bargeman, with his fair share of religious and social problems, and then we would have had one of those hearty national figures which most resemble an American advertisement for Marken and Volendam: a picture-postcard hero in clogs. The standard cliche. Van Schendel's bargeman Rossaart is different.
Like the two reviewers just discussed, Ter Braak does not shy away from notions of Dutchness, but engages with them, trying to shape them in the direction of his preferences:
hoe Hollandsch zijn [Van Schendel's] onderwerp en schrijfwijze ook mogen zijn, zij zijn precies het tegendeel van de Hollandsche huiselijkheid en de Hollandsche jeremiades (17) However Dutch his subject matter and style of writing may be, they are the exact opposite of Dutch cosiness and Dutch moaning Minnies.
Van Schendel offers a useful opportunity for contributing to the development of a new patriotic sensibility which Ter Braak makes the most of, particularly in relation to Van Schendel's style, which he praises, noting that it chimes in with the
'volkskarakter' met zijn zeldzaam beheerschten toon en zijn ingeschapen afkeer van rhetoriek en stylistische aanmatiging.
'national character' with its exceptionally restrained tone and its inherent aversion to rhetoric and stylistic pretension.
Ter Braak manages to have his cake and eat it here: his inverted commas imply that he is sceptical of the notion of national character--volkskarakter being a term used freely by fellow reviewers--but that does not stop him from describing it as if it existed. Most reviewers comment on Van Schendel's style, particularly its resemblance to historical chronicles or a factual account. As early as 1932, they began to link Van Schendel's language and style of writing with his Dutchness: it is perceived as pure, or pre-eminently Dutch, something which Smit, for example, associates with its soberness and simplicity. (18) Or it is measured and characters are flatly drawn. (19) So Ter Braak was certainly not the first to impute this significance to Van Schendel.
There is evidence in this short compilation from the reviews that some critics expressed patriotic feelings and accepted the essentialist construct of the volkskarakter, and two of them exhibited an awareness of the undesirability of national stereotypes. The question I wish to address now is which aspects of De waterman engage with traditional national-identity markers.
The reader embarking on De waterman encounters what might be called a typically Dutch landscape of rivers, waterways, and dykes, shrouded in mist and penetratingly cold. Hehnan comments:
en nu het binnenwater in zijn jongste werk dat meer Hollandsch, meer van het eigen land is dan al wat hij tot nu toe schreef.
and now the inland waterways in his most recent work that is more Dutch, more of his own country than everything he has written so far.
The water becomes Rossaart's way of life, he comes to know its ways, it is his element, though not in a way that provides comfort and security, for it robs him of his son, who drowns, and his wife, who can no longer tolerate life on a boat, and ultimately it claims him. Thus Van Schendel provides a focus for patriotic feeling which does not lead to complacency or glorification. In the same way the havens, the towns of Holland with their solid, unchanging streets and buildings grouped around the church cannot provide escape from threat for very long because, as well as being a physical refuge, they house the Dutch people, which, it could be argued, is where all Rossaart's problems start.
It is in his portrayal of society that Van Schendel makes his most devastating critique of Dutchness and the role of religion and its far-reaching effects on the members of Dutch society. Religion is not shown as a form of worship but as a cultural force shaping the behaviour of families and the communities they live in. In particular, Calvinism is shown to be a harsh code, quick to instil a polarity between right and wrong: to approve individuals if they follow the rules of the church but brand them as wrong if they do not. From being wrong to being bad is a short step. When he arrives home late, the first words of the child Maarten Rossaart, who has just witnessed a terrifying scene of murder, are 'Ik weet het wel dat ik slecht ben' ['I know I am bad']. (20) This religion also teaches that obedience to God includes putting up with social injustice. In De waterman, with the Netherlands under French domination, this injustice takes the form of a growing tax burden and high prices:
Hoewel Rossaart noch zijn vrouw klaagde gaf hij (21) herhaaldelijk den raad te berusten en de beproevingen te dragen gelijk zij van den Almachtige gezonden werden. (p. 186)
Although neither Rossaart nor his wife complained, he [Tiel] repeatedly advised them to accept their fate and bear the trials sent by the Almighty.
So in Van Schendel's Holland, religion dominates both the personal and the political and stifles the impulse for change.
Maarten Rossaart, the unusual Dutch hero, resists Calvinist socialization and is consequently an outcast, a position reinforced by his falling in love with a Catholic girl. When Rossaart meets a group of people leading a communal life in an attempt to set up a new kind of society, he joins them for a while and is able to offer Marie the chance of joining him, though not in a marriage recognized by church or state. Life for all the community is made very hard indeed since they do not have society's approval. They live in poverty and discomfort and the men are persecuted for refusing to be drafted into the army. Ultimately, the commune disintegrates. Van Schendel's depiction of this early nineteenth-century social experiment has its basis in fact: the so-called 'Zwijndrechtse Nieuwlichters'. (22) Although I argue that through this depiction Van Schendel comments critically on traditional Dutch society, particularly the role of Calvinism in it, it is worth noting that many contemporary reactions give a universalizing reading: the story is about human nature, and where they detect a negative force, on the whole, they call it fate.
De waterman powerfully evokes the one constant which, though also a threat, is totally accepted as a fundamental element of identity: the physical environment. This comes close in effect to what Butterfield termed the 'soil', and elsewhere 'geography', which he linked to the historical novel's power to engender patriotic feeling. Van Schendel's new Dutch hero tempers this somewhat. As a bargeman he symbolizes symbiosis with the water: his life is harsh and Spartan, he works hard and eschews wealth. Although these might sound like Calvinist virtues, he is unable to coexist with narrow-minded Dutch citizens lacking in humanity. Van Schendel manages to appeal to patriotic feelings by creating this strong silent individual atone with the archetypal Dutch landscape, but Rossaart rejects traditional Dutch cultural values, and if he is heroic in his struggle against the water, he is a heroic loser.
The writer who comes closest stylistically to Van Schendel is Charles Edgar du Perron. Du Perron's own reviews of Van Schendel's work reveal much about his positive evaluation of the older writer and also about his own literary values. For example, the review of De grauwe vogels gives a very clear picture of the stylistic elements which Du Perron valued:
de taal van Van Schendel, vroeger misschien romantisch en muzikaal in haar gaafheid, is met de jaren kernachtiger, pittiger geworden zonder er iets van die gaafheid bij in te boeten. In de kunst een bladzij te schrijven met een maximum geserreerdheid zonder nuances verloren te laten gaan, slaat hij alle jongeren, collectief en individueel, en zij toch hebben zich zo toegespitst op de 'nieuwe zakelijkheid'. Tenslotte, niemand kent als hij onze taal zo in zijn soberst en raakst idioom; [...] Van Schendel heeft zich toegelegd op de kroniekstijl die zonder schaduwen lijkt [...] het beeld van dit proza is naakt en rechtlijvig [...] (23)
Van Schendel's language, once perhaps romantic and musical in its flawlessness, has become with the years more pithy, more zesty, without sacrificing any of its flawlessness. He knocks all the young writers, collectively and individually, into a cocked hat when it comes to the art of writing a page with the maximum terseness without any of the nuances being lost in the process, and to think that they had made such a thing of the 'neue Sachlichkeit'. Ultimately there is no one who has such a command of our language in its most sober and economical idiom; [...] Van Schendel has become an exponent of a chronicle style which has eliminated shades [...] the images in this prose are bare and spare...
Menno ter Braak in his review of Du Perron's first historical novel Nchandaal in Holland gives a comparison of the two writers based on their style of writing:
De enige schrijver in Nederland, mij bekend, die door soortgelijke effecten deze versmelting weet tot stand te brengen, is Arthur van Schendel. Du Perron heeft ergens gebiecht, dat hij o.a. van Een Zwerver Verliefd leerde, wat Nederlands proza was; maar aangezien Van Schendel en hij zulke totaal verschillende persoonlijkheden zijn, blijkt pas uit Nchandaal in Holland evident, hoeveel en in welk opzicht hij van Van Schendel geleerd heeft. [...] ook Van Schendel is geen schrijver van historische romans in de geijkte betekenis, ook voor Van Schendel heeft het verwerken van een historische stof nooit de bedoeling van een reconstructie der 'werkelijkheid'; beide auteurs maken gebruik van een probaat middel [...]: het zwijgen over uitvoerige bijzonderheden, die ons alleen in schijn nader brengen tot het verleden. (24)
The only writer in the Netherlands who can achieve this blending through similar effects is Arthur van Schendel. Du Perron has confessed somewhere that he learnt what Dutch prose was from A Wanderer in Love; but since Van Schendel and he are such utterly different personalities, it has taken until Ncandal in Holland for the extent to which he has learnt from Van Schendel, and in what respect he has learnt from him, to become evident. [...] Van Schendel is not a writer of historical novels in the traditional sense either, nor has Van Schendel's reworking of historical material ever been done with the intention of reconstructing 'reality'; both authors make use of an effective device: a refusal to give extensive details since these only apparently bring us closer to the past.
Thus Ter Braak links simplicity to a more effective way of evoking the past than the pretension to reconstruct reality. He made no secret of his aversion to the historical novel, and the chances were that his friend Du Perron would challenge the tradition with Schandaal in Holland. In his review of it, Ter Braak does not consider the book to be a historical novel but rather 'een groot verhaal' ['a large narrative/story'], which seems to suggest a lesser degree of fictionality than would be found in the traditional historical novel:
En inderdaad, Nchandaal in Holland heeft, hoewel het allerminst een dissertatie is, genoeg gemeen met een kroniek of een historische verhandeling omons het boek scherp te doen onderscheiden van de gebruikelijke historische roman. (p. 383)
Indeed, although it is certainly not a dissertation, Scandal in Holland has enough in common with a chronicle or a historical treatise for us to distinguish the book clearly from the usual historical novel.
Du Perron's reviewers give the impression that he has succeeded in creating a form of narrative which resists attempts to categorize it. In fact Du Perron himself was uncertain about the nature of what he had written. When the first draft of Schandaal in Holland was complete, he asked two friends, Coert Binnerts and Leo Jansen, for their written reactions to it. (25) In the letter in which he solicits the opinion of Leo Jansen, Du Perron writes:
Ik bedoel dus niet zozeer of het goed of slecht is, kunst of niet [...] maar bovenal: wat het, als nasmaak, is. Dat wil zeggen vooral een 'historische schets', of 'aardige portretten', of een 'amusant schandaal', of een 'filosofische illustratie', enz. (p. 141)
I don't so much mean whether it is good or bad, art or not [...] but above all: what it is, what kind of aftertaste it leaves. That is, a 'historical sketch' or 'charming portraits' or an 'amusing scandal' or a 'philosophical illustration', etc.
With this new form, Du Perron engages with the issue of how to represent the past, rejecting fantasy and adventure for a story which stays close to historical sources. In this, he is setting himself apart from the mainstream of writers, including Ina Boudier-Bakker, who set their work in the past. I shall look at Du Perron's approach from two points of view: the rejection of fantasy and the adoption of a sober style and tone. I have already shown how Ter Braak linked this sobriety to national values and shall argue that the aversion to fiction and rejection of fantasy are also part of this set of values.
I have chosen to analyse the heart of Schandaal in Holland: the narration of the scandal which has traditionally been described as incest, but which I prefer to call sexual abuse. This is a passage which lends itself to a florid treatment, so that Du Perron's sober style may be better highlighted in the contrast with the dramatic subject matter. Betje, daughter of Onno Zwier van Haren, had told her story the evening before to her sister's fiance, Willem van Hogendorp, and it is now being repeated for her eldest sister Amelia and her husband Van Sandick.
Wat men als informatie opzamelde was: dat haar vader Betje soms in de boekenkamer riep om thee te schenken of godsdienstles te nemen en de deur dan afsloot; dat hij haar dan platen liet zien en dingen daarbij vertelde die zij niet kende, maar die haar met afschuw vervulden; dat hij verklaard had dat de bijbel haar gebood letterlijk alles te doen wat haar ouders haar zegden, die immers alleen maar wilden wat nuttig voor haar was; dat hij getracht had haar zo vertrouwd met voornoemde dingen te maken dat zij er geen afschuw meer voor hebben zou en daarom een slecht boek met haar had gelezen; dat hij vervolgens gevraagd had of zij het niet door ondervinding klaarder wilde begrijpen. Ook had hij haar gevraagd om, als haar moeder en zusters naar de kerk waren, zonder keurslijf in de boekenkamer te komen. Dit alles was de vorige zomer begonnen, maar hij was voortgegaan dergelijke afspraken met haar te willen maken toen zij reeds hier logeerde. (26)
The information they managed to collect was: that Betje's father sometimes called her into the library to pour tea or for religious education and then locked the door; that he then showed her pictures and while doing so told her things she did not know about, but which filled her with revulsion; that he had declared that the Bible literally commanded her to do everything that her parents told her to do, and they only wanted what was good for her; that he had tried to make the aforementioned things so familiar to her that she would no longer feel revulsion at them and for this reason had read a bad book with her; that he had gone on to ask if she would not like to understand this better through experiencing it. He had also asked her to come to the library without her bodice when her mother and sisters had gone to church. This had all started the previous summer, but he had continued to make such arrangements with her even after she was staying here.
Rather than being Betje's own story, which might be expected to reflect her distress, this is an account stripped bare of emotion. It is not told from the point of view of any of the characters; the narrator offers a kind of proces-verbal of Betje's telling of the events in the library which contains no element of interpretation. This spare account comes to function like a historical document for the reader: it becomes a reference point as events progress and the accusation of incest inevitably produces turmoil. When emotion is displayed by the characters, this is narrated through a description of their behaviour or through their own words, but the emotion is always framed by the narrator in as sober a way as possible. For example, 'Amelia en Betje waren beiden in tranen toen Sandick thuiskwam' ['Amelia and Betje were both in tears when Sandick came home'] (P. 75), or 'Toen Sandick eindelijk begrepen had waar alles om ging, riep hij uit "Mijn God, is 't mogelijk dat er zulke monsters bestaan!"' ['When Sandick had finally grasped what it was all about, he cried out: "My God! Is it possible that such monsters exist!"'] (p. 75)
The exchange of letters between Du Perron and Coert Binnerts about the first draft of Schandaal in Holland develops into a discussion of the chronicle style and its drawbacks. Binnerts maintains that he is not engaged by the text. He says that the characters remain shadowy and do not come to life, and he contrasts Du Perron's writing with Van Schendel's, who, despite his spare style, creates a sense of depth. Du Perron concedes this difference but points out that it is his choice: 'Ik geef je de verzekering dat ik ban uitwerken, maar het resultaat zou mij niet meer smaken' ['I assure you that I can flesh out, but the result would no longer be to my taste']. (27) Du Perron is fully aware that his approach makes readers work harder: 'tdch "niet alles zeggen", de lezer zelf een beetje moeite laten doen, een beetje zelf laten fantazeeren' ['to "keep something back", to let the reader make a bit of an effort, make him imagine some of it himself'] (p. 150). In this respect, the pupil outdoes the master in producing a narrative that is so austere as to deprive the reader of any illusion of reality. In this way, Du Perron addresses the objection that the historical novel attempts to create the illusion that the past is mediated directly through the imagination of the novelist. This can only be achieved by covering up its sources, which is seen by Ter Braak and Du Perron as somehow dishonest, honesty being another element of the set of patriotic virtues.
One way out of this problem would be for the historical novelist to become a kind of historian, working with primary sources which in turn would give him a way of judging the work of historians. To what extent is it possible to see Du Perron in this way? It is certainly the case that he had become more interested in history towards the end of his life. According to his biographer Van der Meulen, he had considered becoming a student of history under the supervision of Jan Romein, although Van Schendel advised against it. (28) In the months before he died, Du Perron was engaged in historical research in the Netherlands national archives, and his last publication before his death was a scholarly contribution to 'de koloniale beschavingsgeschiedenis' ['the history of colonial civilization'] as well as to literary history and the history of ideas. It was published as Een Lettre uit de 18e Eeuw: Willem van Hogendorp. (29)
The most interesting aspect of Een Lettre uit de 18e Eeuw for this investigation is the innovatory form Du Perron has chosen. The method he employs to write up the documentary research--in this case letters and poems by his subject, Willem van Hogendorp--is a kind of compilation. There is also a sense in which the term 'compilation' could be applied to Schandaal in Holland, given the way this text uses bits and pieces of documents such as letters and contemporary accounts which Du Perron stitches together with pieces of narrative to form a kind of larger story. This particular technique is also similar to that employed some forty years later by Hella Haasse in her books about Charlotte-Sophie Bentinck, where pieces of document, some of which are translated or paraphrased, are joined by a narrative which links and summarizes. (30)
The task Du Perron had set himself was to find an appropriate form for this new kind of honest story. It is clear that this form will not involve the creation of an illusory reality through seamless realist writing that does not tolerate interruption or disruption. J. H. W. Veenstra sees 'het procede van montage en collage' ['the technique of montage and collage'] as a refined version of early work of Du Perron's from his modernist phase in the 1920s. The point about this procedure is that it allows chunks of reality to be included in the narrative. As Veenstra puts it:
De fragmenten werkelijkheid waarmee hij in de nieuwe reeks wou gaan plakken en monteren waren o.a. kroniekfragmenten van een simpele historische verslaggeving, die naar de ervaring leert altijd beklijven toits goed geformuleerd en gehanteerd. En voor dit laatste is dan in Du Perrons geval de noterende en arrangerende artistieke schrijvershand verantwoordelijk. Die hand zorgt voor toon en 'zetting' van het geheel [...] (p. 136)
The fragments of reality that he intended to cut and paste into the new series were, inter alia, chronicle fragments from simple historical accounts which, as experience has taught, always stick in the mind as long as they have been well formulated and well employed. And Du Perron has provided the latter through his artistic writerly comments on and arrangement of the material. The writer's hand which supplies the tone and 'setting' of the piece as a whole.
As part of this new transparency, Du Perron includes an afterword to Schandaal in Holland:
Ik heb er niet naar gestreeft een historische reconstructie of evocatie te geven, met alle kunstgrepen daarbij behorend; veeleer zie ik dit eerste verhaal als een oud stuk in nieuwe zetting. [...] Op zichzelf bestaat het uit Dichtung und Wahrheit, welke laatste noodzakelijk van elders moest worden betrokken; en ik heb zoveel zinnen, uitdrukkingen en gesproken woorden overgenomen uit de door mij geraadpleegde schrifturen, dat ik bij voorbaat alle beschuldigingen van plagiaat aanvaard [...] (Verzameld werk, III, 687) I have not tried to make a historical reconstruction or evocation, with all the tricks of the trade that requires; but rather I see this first story as an old piece in a new setting. [...] Of itself, it consists of Dichtung und Wahrheit [imagination and truth], of which the latter had of necessity to be brought from elsewhere; and I have taken so many sentences, expressions, and spoken words from the writings I consulted that I accept in advance all accusations of plagiarism.
What are Du Perron's readers to make of his public admission of plagiarism, of dishonesty, therefore, in the light of the much-vaunted value of honesty and in the light of the treatment meted out to Boudier-Bakker? The afterword makes it clear that he has no pretentions to objectivity such as an academic historian might have; nor does he aim for the traditional novelist's artificial reality: he acknowledges the blend of fact and fiction, the mingling of truth and imagination. He lists his sources in the afterword (though without providing full references), but does not generally refer to them in the main body of the text except in passing and when he quotes from them. The use of a quotation from Huizinga to open Schandaal in Holland establishes forcefully from the outset that this is no traditional work of historical fiction. However, in my view, if this text is to be seen as a collage, it is a subtle one. The overview of the quotations in Schandaal in Holland given in the appendix below shows that they only accounted for a small part of the text, although their importance increases in the last two chapters since it is through quotations that the reader finally makes the acquaintance of the Van Haren brothers in their literary identities.
There is one passage in Chapter 10 which stands out from the rest of the book as being the place where Schandaal in Holland comes closest to fiction. It breaks out of the tightly constructed, terse narrative with a lengthy monologue by Adam, Willem van Haren's illegitimate son, who appears like a prophet to deliver a devastating denunciation of Onno and what he stands for. The figure of Adam somehow captures the imagination in a way that the other characters do not. Adam's critique of the Van Harens and their caste stays in the mind. His accusation is that Onno has not understood the conflict in Dutch society, and he seems to link the regent class's abuse of power to the power which parents exercise over their children (the same power which made the incest possible). Adam is the voice of future democratization when he puts forward the notion of children's rights:
Nietwaar oom, mijnheer, gij hebt uw volle studie kunnen maken van deze onontkoombare schuld van ouder aan kind, maar even onontkoombaar altijd weer van kind aan ouder? Welnu, ik zeg u, dat een kind altijd meer recht heeft, veel meer, zijn ouders infaam te vinden! Men kan u zien als het slachtofler van een antiek noodlot, maar is dit u niet te veel eer bewijzen? Zijt gij niet alleen slachtofler van het schaamteloze vooroordeel dat een ouder alles vermag op zijn kinderen? (p. 140)
Is it not so, uncle, sir, that you have been able to consider in depth this guilty misdeed by parent against child, but, we hear again and again, one that is supposedly committed with equal guilt by child against parent? Well I am telling you that a child always has more right, much more right, to consider his parents infamous! It is possible to see you as the victim of an ancient fate, but does this not accord you too much honour? Are you not merely a victim of the shameless prejudice that allows a parent to do whatever he likes to his children?
Nowhere else in Schandaal in Holland is the reader given such an insight into a character's psyche, and it looks as though Du Perron has deviated from his determination not to flesh out the bare bones of his story. In fact we do know from a letter to Leo Jansen written on 9 November 1937, hence early in the exchange, that this part of the narrative is pure fiction. (31)
In Schandaal in Holland Du Perron uses the whole scale of fictionality/ factuality. His narrative ranges from the purely factual (quotations) to the purely fictional (the scene between Adam and Onno). Between these two extremes, the main narrative consists largely of reworkings of other texts, whether in the form of concise and smooth retelling of Dutch history of the period in question, or of dialogue and reportage constructed from contemporary accounts of events. The scales are tilted in favour of factuality since there is only one small passage of fantasy.
Schandaal in Holland opens with the idea that the Dutch state was governed using relatively little force. At the same time, however, a negative picture of the regent class emerges for the twentieth-century reader. The regents are described as so certain of their position that they take privilege for granted and abuse their power. For Onno van Haren, nepotism is the norm and it is taken for granted that he will find jobs for his sons-in-law. In the Dutch state there is tension between the stadholder, or princely figurehead, and the regents, since the former tends to act out of political ambition, and the latter are concerned with trade and the creation of wealth. The vast majority of the population, the 'burgerij' and the 'volk', are mentioned in passing on the first page of Schandaal in Holland as being responsible for the peaceful state of Holland because, although dissatisfied, they are not inclined to take action. As in Vrouw Jacob, they are largely invisible. In this sense, Du Perron's story is traditional, focusing as it does on the aristocracy and their doings. He has no eye for social history, and it is not until the biography of Willem van Haren necessitates it that the lower classes are represented among the characters.
When the narrative focuses on the Van Haren brothers and their personal lives, the public and private domains of Dutch eighteenth-century life not only meet: they clash as a result of Onno's decision to ignore the norm forbidding the private to be rendered public:
Maar wat ook gebeuren mocht, tot het beleid van regenten hoorde in alle tijden dat zij hun vuile was binnenshuis deden. [...] een stand die zijn zaken voor het publiek gooide, was een stand die zich alleronnozelst ophief door zichzelf tot publiek te maken. Het beroep dat Onno Zwier van Haren inzake zijn vuile was op het publiek deed, was dan ook een ongunstige uitzondering op de regel, misschien alleen recht te verklaren door 's mans tot dusver teruggedrongen schrijversroeringen. (p. 6)
But whatever happened, one ofthe regents' policies from which they never deviated was to wash their dirty linen in private. [...] a class which laid its affairs before the public was a class that elevated itself to the most naive of states by becoming public property. The appeal which Onno ruade to the public in relation to his dirty linen was a damaging exception to the rule which could perhaps only really be explained by the man's literary tendencies, which had thus far been repressed.
The dirty washing consisted of a highly intimate item: the matter of Onno's alleged sexual abuse of his daughter.
Willem van Haren's private life offers a different insight into how the regents obtained sexual gratification. As a young Frisian landowner, he takes a mistress from among the people who quickly produces two children. At this stage, Willem is happy to accommodate and support this unofficial family, but later, when his fortunes have changed for the worse, they are left to fend for themselves and endure great suffering. Willem does not violate society's rules, however, because his 'other' family is kept private, and consequently, although he might theoretically have broken the church's moral code, the ruling class is not involved and does not feel itself called upon to judge Willem. Willem is no doubt helped by the fact that his behaviour is not uncommon among men of his class. Another reason for the invisibility of the 'other' family is that, as members of a lower order, these people have no rights. In keeping with the principle of reportage, there is no moral condemnation on Du Perron's part, with one striking exception: Adam's long outpouring of bitterness and resentment. Onno may not take Adam seriously, but the latter's speech is so impassioned that a reader must surely be caused a moment's reflection. His critique of eighteenth-century Dutch society is perceptive and applicable beyond his own family situation. In my view, it contains the key to understanding the 'scandal in Holland'. The heart of Adam's analysis, as we saw earlier, is that the abuse of power rife in the Dutch republic at large is also replicated in the family. Onno's case is interesting because his power to do what he likes with his daughters is challenged by rival powerful males in the family: his son-in-law and future son-in-law. The code among the ruling class would be to ensure that incest was hushed up, kept within the family circle, and the victims would not have had access to outside help. It seems that male rivalries within the family were strong enough in this case to override the code.
The issue of whether the alleged abuse had occurred is never wholly resolved in Schandaal in Holland. It appears that some boundary of appropriate behaviour between father and daughter had been transgressed as far as Betje was concerned, but as far as Onno was concerned, and with the weight of traditional power relations in the family behind him, no line had been crossed. Despite Du Perron's sober text, his presentation of the female characters suggests that he implicitly sympathizes with Onno. The text certainly elicits little empathy with the victim, and the stereotypical depiction of the women characters in Schandaal in Holland generally suggests that Du Perron's thinking in relation to women was not as radical as some of his other ideas. The description of Willem's mistress depicts her as being there for men's pleasure:
Maria Crullers [...] trof Willem door de romigheid van haar huid en het schelle blond van haar kroezende haren; [...] dat zij zich ook elders liet afromen hinderde hem niet, waar hij in deze tijd niets zozeer op prijs stelde als gemak en kortheid in de voorspelen. Maar Maria Crullers wist hem beter aan haar lot te hechten dan hij ooit had kunnen voorzien [...] (p. 10)
Willem noticed Maria Crullers [...] because of the creaminess of her skin and the bright blondness of her curly hair; he was not bothered by the fact that she allowed others to taste the cream, since what he most valued in this period was ease and brevity of foreplay. But Maria Crullers managed to attach him to her lot better than he could ever have predicted [...]
Contrasting Willem's wife Marianne with Onno's wife Adeleide, the message is that wifely virtues are youth, blooming health, and fertility:
Hij had in Marianne een lelie gezien, Adeleide was dan een roos. De lelie en de roos-- maar de lelie meer dan half verlept. Met egoisme beloofde Onno zich meer vreugde te plukken in zijn huwelijk dan Willem toebedeeld scheen in het zijne. (pp. 26-27)
If in Marianne he had seen a lily, Adeleide was a rose. The lily and the rose--but the lily was severely wilted. Egotistically Onno promised himself that he would reap more joy from his marriage than seemed to be Willem's lot in his.
No doubt Marianne's 'failings' amply justify Willem's extra-marital activities. Even Adeleide becomes a less than perfect wife when her last pregnancy, which produced Onno's ninth and tenth children, left her ill and depressed. Indeed, later on, when pressure is being put on Onno to signa confession, it is hinted that it was partly Adeleide's fault (through withdrawing her sexual favours?) that Onno needed to turn to his daughters: '"Als ik gezondigd heb, vrouw, was het niet door uw schuld? Ben ik alleen verantwoordelijk voor deze zonde?"' ['"If I have sinned, woman, was it not your fault? Ara I alone responsible for this sin?"'] (p. 96)
And what of Betje, the 'victim' of the scandal? How is she portrayed? Her main characteristic is that she is ugly and rather a sad figure because she behaves flirtatiously and tries to attract attention rather than hide herself away. The text suggests that there is a connection between her flirtatiousness and her telling Hogendorp, her future brother-in-law, about what happened with her father:
terwijl de anderen kaart speelden, zat Betje met Hogendorp alleen in een hoek en begon plots in een snel tempo te praten over haar vader's bibliotheek en de vreemde dingen die hij haar gezegd had en haar had willen leren. Wat zij er verder mee voor had, het zette haar in gloed deze dingen te vertellen aan een jonkman die binnen weinige dagen met haar zuster zou trouwen, die haar in gewaagde verzen bespot had en voorgafniet te begrijpen hoe zij ooit begeerlijk zou kunnen worden gevonden. (p. 72)
while the others played cards, Betje sat alone with Hogendorp in a comer and suddenly started to talk very fast about her father's library and the strange things he had said and had wanted to teach her. Whatever her intention might have been, it set her alight to tell such things to a young bachelor who would be marrying her sister in a few days' time, who had mocked her in daring verse and pretended not to understand how anyone could ever find her desirable.
The message is that Betje might have been carried away by the attention from Hogendorp. Her account as reproduced in Chapter 6 is not explicit, soit is rather the case that her sisters and their men choose to interpret what happened as a form of sexual abuse. Betje's sister Caroline says that Onno behaved in a similar way to her: 'zij zwoer echter hem altijd weerstaan te hebben' ['she swore that she had, however, always resisted him']. Onno's wife Adeleide also admits to her sister that there is some truth in the story:
dat Onno haar inderdaad bekend had in zekere mate schuldig te zijn, omdat hij met de meisjes weleens geschertst had over zulke onderwerpen: 'Maar al zou hij het ergste gedaan hebben, voegde zij eraan toe, wie zijn leed gezien heeft, kan hem slechts vergeven.' (p. 92)
that Onno had indeed confessed to her that he was guilty in some measure because he had sometimes joked with the girls about such subjects: 'But if he had done the deed,' she added, 'anyone who has seen his suffering can only forgive him.'
Here, Adeleide seems to allow the possibility of actual sexual abuse and to collude like so many other mothers in a patriarchal society. In the case of Holland in the eighteenth century, the notion of God as patriarch legitimated the power of the father. Onno signs the confession to the 'Crimen Tentati Incestus met twee van mijn Kinderen' ['crime of incest with two of my children'], under protest, turning to Christianity for solace and taking refuge in the idea that it was God's will:
Hij was--en dat had hij altijd gevoeld--nooit verantwoordelijk geweest, want het was altijd God's bedoeling geweest dat hij zou worden geslagen. (pp. 112-13)
He had never been responsible--and he had always felt this--for it had always been God's intention that he should receive this blow.
Du Perron combines a distinctly unflattering portrayal of the Dutch ruling class in The Hague and of a patriarchal society organized around men's needs and wishes with an uncomfortable style of writing which, by denying readers an illusion of reality, manipulates them into engaging with the subject marrer--an episode from Dutch national history. However, it is an episode that most Dutch patriots would rather forger, since it confronts them with an aspect of their culture which is problematic. Van Schendel does the saine in De waterman, so both writers introduce a critical note, but Du Perron goes further than Van Schendel because of the extremes to which he pushes the genre of the historical novel, making it nmch more difficult for the reader to identify with his characters. The reviewers' responses to Maarten Rossaart were quite powerful and complex, and the novel allowed them to indulge patriotic sensibilities while also questioning them. The language of this novel, though sober and spare, nevertheless has a visual quality in contrast to the fiat prosaic nature of Du Perron's text. Schandaal in Holland exemplifies the Dutch virtues propounded by Menno ter Braak and Du Perron himself, taking them to an extreme while also giving a negative treatment of a patriotic subject, i.e. the family and eighteenth-century Dutch regent culture. The fatherland is a given, Dutch virtues of honesty and sobriety are to be practised, but in this new version of patriotism, love of one's country entails being able to look at it critically. Ina Boudier-Bakker stands completely apart from this translation of patriotic values into genre and style, but she, too, understands that in this critical period it will not be enough accept traditional notions of Dutchness, particularly when they exclude half the population. Like Van Schendel, she experiments with the creation of an uncomfortable, ambiguous, Dutch hero. Judging by later developments, the intellectual elite anticipated and in all likelihood contributed to the post-war stance of the next generation of writers, who were highly critical of the establishment. Generally speaking, however, this criticism did not extend to the role of women in Dutch society, and Boudier-Bakker's challenge failed to find a favourable response.
Quotations in 'Schandaal in Holland'
In Chapter 1 there are short quotations from letters and Onno Zwier van Haren's own writings. Chapter 2 contains a quotation from Willem van Haren's foreword to his Gevallen van Friso, an Orangist epic poem, a lengthy quotation from Onno's autobiographical reflections on his entry into politics, short fragments from other poems by Willem, and a phrase from a letter from Willem's mistress. Chapter 3 contains three quotations from letters written by Bentinck to a friend in The Hague and one from a letter of Willem van Haren's to the Prince of Orange. A diary is the source of the first quotation in Chapter 4, although its author is not mentioned by name, and the only other quotation is from a letter of Willem's. There is only one quotation in Chapter 5, the chapter in which Betje first explains her unwillingness to return home because of her fear of her father. Chapter 6, which narrates the scandal and its immediate consequences, contains no quotations. Chapter 7 contains the text of a note from Van Sandick to his father-in-law Onno van Haren, and a large portion of the text of the confession drawn up by Onno's daughter's future father-in-law, and reluctantly copied out by Onno. A new source of quotations is the diary of Van Hardenbroek. There are two in Chapter 8 along with a fragment of a letter, and a substantial part of Psalm 69, and part of a letter by Onno.
(1) (Amsterdam: Van Oorschot, 1946).
(2) L. de Jong, Het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden in de tweede wereldoorlog, pt. 1: Voorspel ('s-Gravenhage: Staatsuitgeverij, 1969), pp. 53, 541.
(3) De Jong, p. 258 and ill. 52.
(4) H. Butterfield, The Historical Novel (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1924), p. 42.
(5) English translation: The Waterman (Leiden: Sythoff, 1963).
(6) (Amsterdam: van Kampen, 1921).
(7) 'Jacoba van Beieren: De Middeleeuwsche vrouw en haar Arkelsch tekort. Op de grenzen van het plagiaat', Het Vaderland, 20 October 1935.
(8) Maurits Uyldert, Algemeen Handelsblad, 24 October 1935.
(9) In De Maasbode, 15 January 1936.
(10) Johan Huizinga, trans, by J. H. Huizinga (London: Heinemann). Originally a speech given in Brussels, March 1935, the Dutch text was widely read. The Dutch edition of In de schaduwen van morgen that I used is described as the 4th revised edition (Haarlem: Tjeenk Willink, 1935), which gives some indication of its immense popularity.
(11) See e.g. J. Fenoulhet, 'Menno ter Braak en de "vrouw in de literatuur"', in Neerlandica extra Muros, 37 (February 1999), 19-30.
(12) Krouw Jacob (Amsterdam: van Kampen, n.d.), p. 540.
(13) M. ter Braak, review of De rijke man, in NRC Handelsblad, 5 December 1936.
(14) Een Hollands drama [The House in Haarlem], De rijke man, De grauwe vogels ['The grey birds'], Het fregatschip Johanna Maria ['The frigate Johanna Maria'], and Jan Compagnie [John Company].
(15) Albert Helman, 'Schipper in halftinten', De Groene Amsterdammer, OE3 December 1933.
(16) J, cV. R YVerumeus Buning, 'Wind en water: Van Schendel's "Waterman" of het eeuwige Holland', De Telegraaf, 6 December 1933.
(17) 'Haarlemsche tragedie', [let Vaderland, 3 November 1935. The last reference is a sideswipe at literary ladies.
(18) Gabriel Smit, review of Jan Compagnie, in De Gooi- en Eemlander, October 1933.
(19) L.V., review of De waterman, in NRC Handelsblad, 18 November 1933.
(20) Arthur van Schendel, De waterman, in Verzameld werk, 8 vols (Amsterdam: Meulenhoff, 1976-78), IV, 180.
(21) Tiel, a typical upstanding burgher.
(22) For a short description of the movement, see Nadine C. Clegg's introduction to The Waterman (Leiden: Sythoff, 1963), p. 6.
(23) In E. du Perron, Verzameld werk, 7 vols (Amsterdam: Van Oorschot, 1955-59), VI (1958), 262.
(24) M. ter Braak, Verzameld werk, 7 vols (Amsterdam: Van Oorschot, 1949-51), VII, 383-84.
(25) The surviving letters, ail but one written by Du Perron, and the other by Binnerts, are reproduced in J. H. "VV. Veenstra, 'Du Perron en de vlezigheid', Tirade: Du Perron Nummer, 17 (February-March 1973), 132-52.
(26) E. du Perron, Sehandaal in Holland (Amsterdam: Van Oorschot, 1962), pp. 74-75. All subsequent quotations are from this edition.
(27) Veenstra, p. 150.
(28) Dik van der Meulen, E. du Perron: Een korte biografie ('s-Gravenhage: SDU Uitgeverij, 1990), p. III.
(29) (Den Haag: Leopold, 1940).
(30) Hella S. Haasse, Mevrouw Bentinch of Onverenigbaarheid van harahter ['Mrs Bentinck; or, Incompatibility of Character'] (Amsterdam: Querido, 1918), and De groten der aarde of Bentinch tegen Bentinch ['The Great and the Good; or, Bentinck contra Bentinck'] (Amsterdam: Querido, 1981).
(31) Veenstra, p. 142.
UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON