Re: Dutch Literature
It's not bad per se, but I've yet to read a "great" Dutch novel. The Dutch language seems to produce a lot of mediocre writers, a fair few good writers and a handful of "world-class" writers (Nooteboom, perhaps Mulisch. I'm also of the unshared opinion that Gerrit Komrij is one of the best Dutch authors ever). Contemporary or Classic. I'm not all that enthusiastic about Vondel and his friends either. Max Havelaar has been published as a Penguin Classic, but is it really?
Originally Posted by peter_d
The Discovery of Heaven and Max Havelaar are supposed to be the two peaks of Dutch literature, but I found Multatuli's style rather amateur-ish and although I haven't read The Discovery of Heaven, I'm not that excited about Mulisch' work either.
Should I start looking at other languages, I find that I can easily name a handful of great writers in the Czech language (with only 12 million speakers, as opposed to 27 million speakers of Dutch), among them being Kundera, Hrabal, in the Swedish language (10 million, Lagerlof, Lagerkvist). Even tiny languages (forgive me), such as Icelandic and Norwegian (0.3 and 5 million respectively; Hamsun, Ibsen, Laxness) seem to be produce great writers at least as consistently as the Dutch language.
I think even professors of literature abroad will have difficulty naming five Dutch authors. That's not just because it's barely promoted.
and houses, roads, avenues are as fugitive, alas, as the years. - Marcel Proust