As part of a series of literary portraits of European countries Dutch critic Margot Dijkgraaf writes a broad survey of Dutch literature of the past 50 years. Something about a ‘profound Holland’ and the new Dutch.
The liberal, atheist era has come to end in the Netherlands and contemporary Dutch literature reflects that, writes critic Margot Dijkgraaf. The new need for security is reflected in the work of two novelists in particular: Jan Siebelink, whose fiction, free of references to contemporary life, evokes the “profound Holland” overturned in the 1960s; and Arnon Grunberg, whose representations of male disintegration blankly refuse any such reassurances. But there is a parallel strand of current Dutch literature that sidesteps such concerns: novelists and poets with migrant backgrounds introducing new styles and identities into the Dutch literary repertoire.