Willem Frederik Hermans

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The Dutch writer Willem Frederik Hermans (September 1, 1921April 27, 1995) is considered one of the three most important authors in the Netherlands in the postwar period, along with Harry Mulisch and Gerard Reve.

His oeuvre includes novels, short stories, essays, and philosophical and scientific works.

His style is existentialist and generally quite bleak, and his writing style is quite unique in its short and pointed sentences, especially in Dutch. There is no doubt that he was influenced by World War II and the German occupation of the Netherlands between 1940 and 1945, and his longer novels (De tranen der acacia's and De donkere kamer van Damokles) are set during the war. Even his more upbeat writings (Onder professoren and Au pair) can have a strange, existentialist twist to them.

In 1958 W.F. Hermans was appointed as a reader in physical geography at the Groningen University. In 1973 he resigned and settled as a full time writer in Paris. In Onder professoren (1975) he described the university life in Groningen in a bitter and satirical way. It can be read as a keyroman and was entirely written on the empty sides of university letters, according to Hermans's alter ego Zomerplaag: 'to do something useful with this expensive paper that would normally disappear unread in the garbage bin polluting the environment'. Afterwards the university obliged collaborators to use both sides of papers.

[edit] Bibliography (selection)

  • Moedwil en misverstand/Intention and misunderstanding (short stories, 1948)
  • De tranen der acacia's/The tears of the acacias (novel, 1949)
  • Ik heb altijd gelijk/I am always right (novel, 1951)
  • Paranoia (short stories, 1953)
  • Description et genèse des dépôts meubles de surface et du relief de l'Oesling (dissertation, 1955)
  • De God Denkbaar Denkbaar De God/The God Thinkable Thinkable the God (novel, 1956)
  • Drie melodrama's/Three pieces of melodrama (novel/short stories, 1957)
  • Een landingspoging op Newfoundland/An attemptive landing on Newfoundland (short stories, 1957)
  • De donkere kamer van Damokles/The Dark Room of Damocles (novel, 1958)
  • Nooit meer slapen/Beyond Sleep (novel, 1966)
  • Een wonderkind of een total loss/A child prodigy or a total loss (stories, 1967)
  • Herinneringen van een engelbewaarder/Memories of a guardian angel (novel, 1971)
  • Het evangelie van O. Dapper Dapper/The gospel of O. Dapper Dapper (novel, 1973)
  • Onder professoren/Amongst profesors (novel, 1975)
  • Filip's sonatine (short story, 1980)
  • Uit talloos veel miljoenen/From innumerable millions (novel, 1981)
  • Geijerstein's dynamiek/Geijerstein's dynamic (short story, 1982)
  • De zegelring/The signet ring (short story, 1984)
  • Een heilige van de horlogerie/The saint of the clockmakers (novel, 1987)
  • Au pair (novel, 1989)
  • De laatste roker/The last smoker (short stories, 1991)
  • In de mist van het schimmenrijk/In the mist of the shadow empire (short story, 1993; boekenweekgeschenk (Dutch Book Week Gift), later published as Madelon in de mist van het schimmenrijk/Madelon in the mist of the shadow empire)
  • Ruisend gruis/Rustling grit (novel, published after his death in 1995)

[edit] External links