Van volksschrijver tot Dichter des Vaderlands. Nationalisme en auteurschap na de oorlog
Oosterwijk, A. van
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This thesis investigates the relationship between Dutch literary authorship and postwar nationalism. Drawing from multiple theories of cultural nationalism and literary authorship, including the work of Joep Leerssen and Pascale Casanova, I argue that the nation state remains a decisive factor in the shaping of modern and contemporary literary authorship. To illustrate this point, this thesis presents two case studies. The first case study applies a posture analysis, as it was introduced by Jérôme Meizoz and later developed by Laurens Ham, on arguably one of the most canonical and controversial authors in Dutch postwar fiction, Gerard Reve (1923-2006). Examining the author’s ironic authorial posture as people’s author (‘volksschrijver’), which is fundamentally unpatriotic and exorbitantly patriotic at once, I argue contrary to Edwin Praat’s thesis on the public authorship of Reve, that Reve both challenges and affirms the Dutch media’s Herderian notion of national authorship. To pursue this matter further into this century, I present a second case study which gives an account of the history of the Dutch poet laureate institution, named the ‘Dichter des Vaderlands’ (2000-). Following recent studies on the position in the US by Toni Holland and Amy Paeth, I find that the Dutch laureateship is interrelated with the debate on the Dutch national identity. In this part, I argue that the ironic position takings of the first Dutch poets laureate can be seen as a continuation of Reve’s authorial posture vis-à-vis the nation state. The institution however later develops into a more consensus-based literary mode, which results in a critical progressivist standard regarding state and society. In this way, this thesis offers a perspective on the continuation of the essentially Herderian notion of national authorship all throughout the postwar period, relating it to matters such as literary autonomy, authorial singularity, Romantic irony, and Dutch postwar literary institutions.