DUTC2203 - 20th Century Dutch Literature

Value: 0.5 course units
Professor Jane Fenoulhet
Teaching structure:
one 2500 word coursework essay (70%); and one seminar presentation (30%).

Module Description:

This module explores the theme of the Second World War in the literature of the Netherlands and Flanders. We will look at autobiographical, historical and fictional accounts of war experiences, focusing on life under occupation; the persecution of the Jews; reactions to the power of the Nazis: accommodation, collaboration and resistance; liberation, post-war disillusionment and guilt; and the process of coming to terms with the past.

The primary texts have been chosen with students' language competence in mind. They are divided thematically into three groups: Life under Occupation; Life in the Camps; Resistance and Aftermath. Most of the texts are short works of fiction.

Preparatory Reading and Set Texts:

Set texts

  • Anne Frank, Het achterhuis
  • Gerard Reve, De ondergang van de familie Boslowits
  • Louis Paul Boon, Mijn kleine oorlog
  • Jona Oberski, Kinderjaren
  • J. Presser, De nacht der Girondijnen
  • Carl Friedman, Tralievader
  • W.F. Hermans, Het behouden huis
  • Marga Minco, Een leeg huis

Preparatory reading

  • E.H. Kossmann, ‘How to Survive a Foreign Occupation. The Low Countries in Two World Wars’, Dutch Crossing 10, March 1980.
  • J. Vanderwal Taylor, A Family Occupation. Children of the War and the Memory of World War II in Dutch Literature of the 1980s , Amsterdam: 1997.
  • D.H. Schram, ‘An Unfinished Chapter. The Second World War and the Holocaust in Dutch Literature’, The Low Countries, 1994-95, (p.195-203).
  • R. Wolfswinkel and H. van Galen Last, Anne Frank and After, 1995.