Modern manuscripts from the National Library of the Netherlands > Hendrik Marsman

There is no doubt that the poem Holland, written by Hendrik Marsman (1899-194) around 1930, is an absolute classic in Dutch poetry. Seldom has the praise of the Dutch landscape’s vast expanse – not yet dotted with buildings at the time – been sung more beautifully. Marsman, who became a source of inspiration for progressive young people thanks to lines such as “Grootsch en meesleepend wil ik leven! / hoort ge dat, vader, moeder, wereld, knekelhuis!”, endeavoured to write novels as well. But this venture did not meet with much success, in spite of his colleague Eddy du Perron’s frantic attempts to improve on Marsman’s prose.

In the light of the design for the novel De dood van Angèle Degroux (ca 1933), passages from the manuscript, an annotated copy of the first edition and a handful of pages of the novel Vera (1931) that were torn out of the periodical De Vrije Bladen, it appears clearly how thoroughly Du Perron took Marman’s attempts to hand. But even his sometimes lethal commentary (“Wat sabbelt dat mensch!”) could not save the books.


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