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The Most Famous Writer of the Low Countries: Herman Brusselmans Star Author and (Reluctant) Public Intellectual

Abstract

The Flemish writer Herman Brusselmans is the most famous author of the Low Countries. In this article, Herman Brusselmans is analysed as a star author. First and foremost, two striking aspects of Brusselmans’s stardom are analysed: his public visibility and the cult of the private. Attention is then focused on Brusselmans’s experience of celebrity, which he - like many other star authors - thematises in his books. Doing so, he consciously places himself in the context of popular culture. On the other hand, as a result of his celebrity status he has been expected - particularly in the last few years - to assume the role of public intellectual willy-nilly, and this in turn has had consequences for his work.

Open access
Multatuli in Zombieland

Abstract

In 1860, the Dutch author Multatuli (pen name of Eduard Douwes Dekker) published Max Havelaar, which was to become the most famous nineteenth-century Dutch novel. In 2016, the book was rewritten by Martijn Adelmund as a book in which also zombies play a role. By doing so, Adelmund follows a fifteen-year-old American literary tradition to rewrite literary masterpieces as zombie books. Since Max Havelaar neither contains many characters nor descriptions of Indonesian nature and has a rather simple plot, Adelmund decided to mix the book with another nineteenth-century Dutch literary masterpiece: Louis Couperus’ De stille kracht. The purpose is to make secondary school pupils read the original Max Havelaar again and encourage them to compare the two versions in order to develop a critical understanding of Dutch colonial history and its present-day consequences. The review focuses on the way Adelmund combined the two classic books, reshaped the plot and added parts of his own. Attention is paid to the way in which the original language was modernized and to the question whether this book really can or will help young students to read the original. However noble Adelmund’s objectives may be, it is very improbable that he will manage to realize them since the quality of the novel he created leaves a lot to be desired.

Open access
The Public Antagonist and Martyr: Reading A.H.J. Dautzenberg against Literary Typologies

Abstract

I analyze the public authorship of Dutch writer A.H.J. Dautzenberg. I disentangle some of the main threads in his literature and public persona, singling out three socio-cultural issues on which he has publicly taken a stance in both his literature and his non-fiction texts. I base my analysis on three types of sources: Dautzenberg’s works of literary fiction, appearances in the media, and non-fictional texts. I argue that the case of Dautzenberg brings out the limits of any typology of engaged authorship, autonomous authorship, or stardom, and that his veiled emphasis on factuality under the flag of fiction to an important extent explains the efficiency of his style of media performance, and helps the author generate attention for his work. I conclude that in the final instance, both his work and his media performances are subordinate to his societal engagement, and that therefore, Dautzenberg is a public antagonist first, and an author only secondarily.

Open access
“The Writer Is Essentially Indiscrete.” On the Literary Gossip of a Dutch Literary Celebrity

Abstract

In contemporary media culture, literary writers arouse the fascination of media fans by awakening in them the desire for the authentic by publishing autobiographical novels or other forms of life narrative. In doing so, they run the risk of becoming part of media’s large gossip mechanism that plays such a central role nowadays. The public conversation about the books of writers such as the Dutch author Connie Palmen - whose Logboek van een onbarmhartig jaar will be the main case study of this article - becomes focused on the elements of truth and authenticity and ignores the literary or fictional construction of the work. This article discusses the question whether this leaves any room for contemporary star authors to distinguish themselves from media gossipers.

Open access
The Aberdeen Burgh Records of 1398–1531 and the Semantic Web

Abstract

This paper provides an overview of two text analytic projects on the Aberdeen burgh records, which are legal records of the city of Aberdeen, Scotland. These records contain detailed information about a range of activities in the city and their legal treatment. The projects cover the periods 1398–1511 (Law in the Aberdeen Council Registers project – LACR) and 1530–1531 (A Text Analytic Approach to Rural and Urban Legal Histories project – TAHL). The completed TAHL project annotated a selected corpus with rich semantic information for the purpose of facilitating historical research by querying and extracting data from across the corpus. The LACR project, which is ongoing, focuses on transcribing the first eight volumes of the Aberdeen burgh records (1398–1511) into the Text Encoding Initiative’s standard, thus making the text machinereadable. This project lays the foundation for further analysis and enrichment of the corpus.

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The Censorship of Essays Written by Maria Aurèlia Capmany (1968–1978)

Abstract

General Franco’s censorship apparatus was quick to pounce on the intellectual dissent in the essays written by Maria Aurèlia Capmany from 1968 to 1978. Based on censorship records, this article analyses the ideological way that those in charge of issuing the reports read her essays. The essays that suffered the most in the hands of the censors were La joventut és una nova classe? (1969), Pedra de toc (1970), El feminismo ibérico (1970) and El feminisme a Catalunya (1973).

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Did Catalonia endure a (cultural) genocide?

Abstract

During the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), Spanish fascism developed its own repressive tools and resources against their enemies (Republicans, Socialists, Communists and Anarchists among others) in the same way other European fascisms did. The depth of the Spanish nationalism brought Franco’s repression against the Catalan society to the height of the processes of cultural and linguistic persecution in the same way that Nazism or Italian fascism had done in the territories they occupied during the years of World War II.

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Digital Humanities on the Semantic Web: Accessing Historical and Musical Linked Data

Abstract

Key fields in the humanities, such as history, art and language, are central to a major transformation that is changing scholarly practice in these fields: the so-called Digital Humanities (DH). A fundamental question in DH is how humanities datasets can be represented digitally, in such a way that machines can process them, understand their meaning, facilitate their inquiry, and exchange them on the Web. In this paper, we survey current efforts within the Semantic Web and Linked Data, a family of Webcompatible knowledge representation formalisms and standards, to represent DH objects in quantitative history and symbolic music. We also argue that the technological gap between the Semantic Web and Linked Data, and DH data owners is currently too wide for effective access and consumption of these semantically enabled humanities data. To this end, we propose grlc, a thin middleware that leverages currently existing queries on the Web (expressed in, e.g., SPARQL) to transparently build standard Web APIs that facilitate access to any Linked Data.

Open access
From Dalí to Gaudí: The Building of Artistic Identity in Catalonia

Abstract

During the twentieth century, the Catalan painter Salvador Dalí and philosopher Francesc Pujols wished for contemporary art an exceptional position in society, based upon an understanding of reality through scientific knowledge, and a new type of Humanism able to provide human life with spiritual values. This is a type of art and a worldview built on the legacy of architects Antoni Gaudí and Claude Ledoux, painters Marià Fortuny and Gustave Moreau, Wagnerism, and philosophers Aguste Comte and Ramon Llull.

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