Dolce far niente, Gerard den Brabander, Ted Hughes, V. S. Naipaul, Nis-Momme Stockmann, Jonathan Franzen, María Elena Cruz Varela, Jan Emmens, Hendrik de Vries

Dolce far niente


Waterlooplein vanaf de Amstel door Bob Buys, 1946



Al wat er mijn gevoelens zijn
Ligt op dit ordeloze plein
te koop als rommel en oud roest,
als oud fornuis, finaal verwoest.
Maar, als ik weer beginnen moest,
zou ik opnieuw een dichter zijn,
maar niet meer met zo’n trotse mond,
meer een hyena of een hond…
Het volk, als ik het goed bekijk,
ligt aan mijn voeten als burger-lijk.


Gerard den Brabander (3 juli 1900 – 4 februari 1968)
De markt in Den Haag, de geboorteplaats van Gerard den Brabander


De Engelse dichter en schrijver Ted Hughes werd geboren op 17 augustus 1930 in Mytholmroyd, Yorkshire. Zie ook alle tags voor Ted Hughes op dit blog.

After Lorca

The clock says “When will it be morning?”
The sun says “Noon hurt me.”
The river cries with its mouthful of mud
And the sea moves every way without moving.

Out of my ear grew a reed
Never touched by mouth.
Paper yellows, even without flame,
But in words carbon has already become diamond.

A supple river of mirrors I run on
Where great shadows rise to the glance,
Flowing all forward and bringing
The world through my reflection.

A voice like a ghost that is not
Rustle that dead in passage
Leaving the living chilled,
Wipe clear the pure glass of stone.

Wipe clear the pure stone of flesh.


The Ancient Heroes and the Bomber Pilot

With nothing to brag about but the size of their hearts,
Tearing boar-flesh and swilling ale,
A fermenting of huge-chested braggarts.

Got nowhere by sitting still
To hear some timorous poet enlarge heroisms,
To suffer their veins stiffle and swell —

Soon, far easier, imagination all flames,
In the white orbit of a sword,
Their chariot-wheels tumbling the necks of screams,

In a glory of hair and beard,
They thinned down their fat fulsome blood in war,
Replenish both bed and board,

Making their own good news, restuffing their dear
Fame with fresh sacks-full of heads,
Roaring, burdened, back over the wet moor.

When archaeologists dig their remainder out —
Bits of bone, rust —
The grandeur of their wars humbles my thought.

Even though I can boast
The enemy capital will jump to a fume
At a turn of my wrist

And the huge earth be shaken in its frame —
I am pale.
When I imagine one of those warriors in the room

And hear his heart-beat burl
The centuries are a stopped clock; my heart
Is cold and small.



“No, the serpent did not
Seduce Eve to the apple.
All that’s simply
Corruption of the facts.

Adam ate the apple.
Eve ate Adam.
The serpent ate Eve.
This is the dark intestine.

The serpent, meanwhile,
Sleeps his meal off in Paradise —
Smiling to hear
God’s querulous calling.”

Ted Hughes (17 augustus 1930 – 28 oktober 1998)
Hier met dochter Frieda en zoon Nicholas, ca. 1965


De Britse schrijver Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul werd geboren op 17 augustus 1932 in Chaguanas, Trinidad en Tobago. Zie ook alle tags voor V. S. Naipaul op dit blog. V. S. Naupaul stierf op 11 augustus jongstleden op 85-jarige leeftijd.

Uit: A Bend In the River

“I had done a little acting at the university — that had begun with a walk-on part in a little film somebody had made about a boy and girl walking in a park. I fell in with the remnants of that group in London and began to do a certain amount of acting. Not in any important way. London is full of little theatrical groups. They write their own plays, and they get grants from firms and local councils here and there. A lot of them live on the dole. Sometimes I played English parts, but usually they wrote parts for me, so that as an actor I found myself being the kind of person I didn’t want to be in real life. I played an Indian doctor visiting a dying working-class mother; I did another Indian doctor who had been charged with rape; I was a bus conductor no one wanted to work with. And so on. Once I did Romeo. Another time there was an idea of rewriting The Merchant of Venice as The Mahndi Banker, so that I could play Shylock. But it became too complicated. `It was a Bohemian life, and it was attractive at first. Then it became depressing. People dropped out and took jobs and you understood that they had had pretty solid connections all along. That was always a let-down, and there were times during those two years when I felt lost and had to fight hard to hold on to that mood that had come to me beside the river. Among all those nice people I was the only real drop-out. And I didn’t want to be a drop-out at all. I’m not running these people down. They did what they could to make room for me, and that is more than any outsider can say for us. It’s a difference in civilization. `I was taken one Sunday to lunch at the house of a friend of a friend. There was nothing Bohemian about the house or the lunch, and I discovered that I had been invited for the sake of one of the other guests. He was an American and he was interested in Africa. He spoke about Africa in an unusual way. He spoke of Africa as though Africa was a sick child and he was the parent. I later became very close to this man, but at that lunch he irritated me and I was rough with him. This was because I had never met that kind of person before. He had all this money to spend on Africa, and he desperately wanted to do the right thing. I suppose the idea of all that money going to waste made me unhappy. But he also had the simplest big-power ideas about the regeneration of Africa. `I told him that Africa wasn’t going to be saved or won by promoting the poems of Yevtushenko or by telling the people about the wickedness of the Berlin Wall. He didn’t look too surprised. He wanted to hear more, and I realized I had been invited to the lunch to say the things I had been saying. And it was there that I began to understand that everything which I had thought had made me powerless in the world had also made me of value, and that to the American I was of interest precisely because I was what I was, a man without a side.”

V. S. Naipaul (17 augustus 1932 – 11 augustus 2018)


De Duitse schrijver en theatermaker Nis-Momme Stockmann werd geboren op 17 augustus 1981 in Wyk auf Föhr.Zie ook alle tags voor Nis-Momme Stockmann op dit blog

Uit: Der Fuchs

„Ich sah die Menschen auf den anderen Dächern in der Ferne fast unbeweglich verharren. Als hätten sie sich für ein präten­tiöses Kunstprojekt mit dem Titel «Unbegreiflich» für einen extrem gut ausgestatteten chinesischen Fotokünstler aufge­stellt. So standen wir, für einander nur Strichmännchen in der Ferne, alle zusammen auf unseren sauberen, stabilen Dächern.
– Gerettet und verloren zugleich –
Ich dachte an Katja (aber um sie machte ich mir keine Sorgen), ich dachte an Diego, an meinen Vater und am stärksten – was mich überraschte – an meinen Bruder. Ob er es wohl geschafft hatte? Reini hätte heute Morgen mit den paritätischen Werkstätten Kartoffeln ernten sollen. Er und die anderen Jungs «mit hohem Unterstützungsbedarf». Aber eigentlich war ich mir sicher, dass er okay war: Das Heim war das höchste Haus im Ort, und das Einzige, was Reini wirklich ausgezeichnet konnte, war schwimmen. Ich stellte mir vor, wie er prustend lange Bahnen zwischen den Häusern schwamm und den Leuten auf den Dächern sein käsiges «Reini grüüüßt» zurief.
Das Bier aus Dogges Notfallkiste war schon fast leer. Jütte kochte uns Dosenravioli auf einem kleinen blauen Gaskocher. Dogge zog seine riesigen Stiefel aus und hängte seine schwarzen Füße ins Wasser.
«Warum hast du eine Notfallkiste auf dem Dach?», fragte Jütte.
«War doch klar», sagte er mit träger Zunge.
«Das Ganze.»
Er griff in die Kiste und holte ein in einen erstaunlich soliden selbstgenähten Schoner eingeschlagenes Gewehr hervor.
«Du hast eine Waffe in der Kiste!?», fragte Jütte empört.
«Jep», sagte Dogge.
«Was willst du denn mit einer Waffe, verdammte Axt!»
«Schießen», sagte er, «und bei Gelegenheit angeben.»
«Ich glaub es nicht: eine Waffe, er hat eine Waffe auf dem Dach!»
Sie ging zur Kiste und wühlte eine Weile darin herum.“

Nis-Momme Stockmann (Wyk, 17 augustus 1981)


De Amerikaanse schrijver en essayist Jonathan Franzen werd geboren op 17 augustus 1959 in Western Springs, Illinois. Zie ook alle tags voor Jonathan Franzen op dit blog.

Uit: Purity

“Renewable Solutions didn’t make or build or even install things. Instead, depending on the regulatory weather (not climate but weather, for it changed seasonally and sometimes seemingly hourly), it “bundled,” it “brokered,” it “captured,” it “surveyed,” it “client-provided.” In theory, this was all very worthy. America put too much carbon into the atmosphere, renewable energy could help with that, federal and state governments were forever devising new tax inducements, the utilities were indifferent-to-moderately-enthusiastic about greening their image, a gratifyingly non-negligible percentage of California households and businesses were willing to pay a premium for cleaner electricity, and this premium, multiplied by many thousands and added to the money flowing from Washington and Sacramento, minus the money that went to the companies that actually made or installed stuff, was enough to pay fifteen salaries at Renewable Solutions and placate its venture-capitalist backers. The buzzwords at the company were also good: collective, community, cooperative. And Pip wanted to do good, if only for lack of better ambitions. From her mother she’d learned the importance of leading a morally purposeful life, and from college she’d learned to feel worried and guilty about the country’s unsustainable consumption patterns. Her problem at Renewable Solutions was that she could never quite figure out what she was selling, even when she was finding people to buy it, and no sooner had she finally begun to figure it out than she was asked to sell something else.
At first, and in hindsight least confusingly, she’d sold power-purchase agreements to small and midsize businesses, until a new state regulation put an end to the outrageous little cut that Renewable Solutions took of those. Then it was signing up households in potential renewable energy districts; each household earned Renewable Solutions a bounty paid by some shadowy third party or parties that had created an allegedly lucrative futures market.”

Jonathan Franzen (Western Springs, 17 augustus 1959)


De Cubaanse dichteres María Elena Cruz Varela werd op 17 augustus 1953 geboren in Colón. Zie ook alle tags voor María Elena Cruz Varela op dit blog.

Gedicht van de slingeraar

Ik slinger stenen tegen het dove oor.
Het veranderlijke oor. Van beide werelden.
Dit is de eenzaamheid met haar geknetter.
Ik geef signalen naast de geduldige dwaas die op de heuvel ligt en met de arme gek die haar zorgen oplapt op een bank in het park.
Door de afgepeigerde vingers. Van de gebroken weefster. Druppelen de flarden.
De eindkroniek van de verlatenheid.
Ik zeg haar dat zij op me moet wachten.
Dit is niet het moment om te sterven in de verlepte schaduw van de populieren.
Ik slinger stenen tegen het dove oor.
Het bloedende oor. Van deze wereld.
Deze bolle wereld die zijn rug toekeert.
De plattegronden om uit het labyrint te ontsnappen, zijn weggeraakt.
Ik slinger stenen: ik ben de gekke vrouw in het park.
Ik ben de aftandse dwaas die op de heuvel ligt.
Ik ben het fatale lied voor Eleanor Rigby.
En ik ben de bloemlezing van allen die eenzaam sterven. Zonder door de tunnel te gaan.
Ik blijf stenen slingeren. Ik ben moe en ga door.
De gekke vrouw toont schaamteloos de tandenloze grijns van haar walging.
Zij draait haar tas binnenste buiten. Zij strooit stuk voor stuk haar handvol vergeten dingen uit.
Ik zeg haar dat zij op me moet wachten:
Dit is niet het moment om te sterven in de verlepte schaduw van de populieren.
Ik verdraag deze vrede als bij een drenkplaats niet. Noch de ronde schuld die aan de appelboom hangt.
Noch de pijl die op mijn hoofd wordt gericht.
Ik slinger stenen. Misschien vinden ze weerklank.
Misschien worden ze opgeslokt door de bodem.


Vertaald door Marjolein Sabarte

María Elena Cruz Varela (Colón, 17 augustus 1953)


De Nederlandse dichter en kunsthistoricus Jan Ameling Emmens werd geboren in Rotterdam op 17 augustus 1924. Zie ook alle tags voor Jan Emmens op dit blog.


De bomen kregen een betekenis
die zij nog zacht gebarend wilden weren,
maar ’t noodlot was niet meer te keren;
een vogel streek klapwiekend in de wildernis
van takken neer en nu hij roerloos zit
(het licht wordt zo benauwend wit),
denk ik aan dood, verrotte geur van blaren,
hetzelfde zijn op steeds dezelfde plaats…
Hoe komt wie vliegt ooit tot bedaren,
en wie niet vliegt ooit van zijn plaats?


Voor de kade

Voor de kade wisselt een wolk meeuwen
als strooibiljetten op een sterke wind
van aanblik als ’t verloop van eeuwen.
Het is windstil. De wind is een klein kind
dat met geluidjes brood staat uit te strooien.

Zijn tijd aan denken of aan doen vergooien
verschilt niet veel, ’t is stenen toch voor brood.

Word liever kind: twee beentjes en wat rood;
het doet soms eeuwen inderhaast ontdooien.

Jan Emmens (17 augustus 1924 – 12 december 1971)
Jan Emmens in 1947, getekend door Acket


De Nederlandse dichter en schilder Hendrik de Vries werd geboren in Groningen op 17 augustus 1896. Zie ook alle tags voor Hendrik de Vries op dit blog.


Augustustulpen geuren. ’t Hemelruim is heet.
De pleinen openen plaveisels, wit en breed,
Met kroon-gebouwen.
In de kamersfeer, door lampen
Verweeld’rigd, krampt een pauweveer.
Fonteinen dampen.
De stralen waaieren en sneeuwen. Treinen razen.
Verwijderd aarzelt meeuwgekrijsch.
De strakke wazen
Der vleugeldeuren spiegelen verkeersgedrangen.

De schal der wereldstad, van zonnekoorts bevangen,
Verhevigt om het hart. Op zerk- en asphalt-vlakken
Verfellen reeksen glas. De nevelen verzwakken.

De vijvers breken door ’t kastanjepark als linten.
De lanen ademen ’t geluk der hyacinten.


Lief en vriendelijk toch van zon en maan

Lief en vriendelijk toch van zon en maan,
Overal met ons mee te gaan,
En dat bij deze winterkou;

Heel die lange lange stille laan
En zooveel sterren er achteraan!
Wij blijven staan – zij blijven staan.

Daar vallen vlinders, wit en blauw.
Waar komen die vandaan?

Hendrik de Vries (17 augustus 1896 – 18 november 1989)
Standbeeld door Norman Burkett naast de Martinikerk in Groningen


Zie voor nog meer schrijvers van de 17e augustus ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2016 en ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2014 deel 2.

Dolce far niente, Simon Vestdijk, Ted Hughes, V. S. Naipaul, Nis-Momme Stockmann, Jonathan Franzen, Jan Emmens

Dolce far niente


Prins Hendrikkade te Amsterdam door Willem Witsen, 1891



Gevoegd tot wallen steen, en krom verdronken,
Staan de kantoren in hun lang plantsoen.
Te lang, te smal… Op bruggeranden ronken
Tramwagens dwars door ’t stoffig dubbelgroen.

Nog stroomt een rest van ’t kruislingsch labyrinth
Waar men ’t verleden moeizaam in kan halen
Als spook’ge achterstevens, vluchtend bint
Van schepen die de reeders lieten dwalen.

Maar in die duizeldun vertakte haven
Zijn zelfs de geesten zoo misteekend, dat
Het laatste toplicht, wezenloos hoogdravend,
Zweeft als een lichtreclame op de binnenstad.


Simon Vestdijk (17 oktober 1898 – 23 maart 1971)
Harlingen, Zuiderhaven. Simon Vestdijk werd in Harlingen geboren.

Doorgaan met het lezen van “Dolce far niente, Simon Vestdijk, Ted Hughes, V. S. Naipaul, Nis-Momme Stockmann, Jonathan Franzen, Jan Emmens”

Ted Hughes, V. S. Naipaul, Nis-Momme Stockmann, Jonathan Franzen, Herta Müller, Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin, Roger Peyrefitte, Hendrik de Vries

De Engelse dichter en schrijver Ted Hughes werd geboren op 17 augustus 1930 in Mytholmroyd, Yorkshire. Zie ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2010 en eveneens alle tags voor Ted Hughes op dit blog.

Bride and Groom Lie Hidden for Three Days

She gives him his eyes, she found them
Among some rubble, among some beetles

He gives her her skin
He just seemed to pull it down out of the air and lay it over her
She weeps with fearfulness and astonishment

She has found his hands for him, and fitted them freshly at the wrists
They are amazed at themselves, they go feeling all over her

He has assembled her spine, he cleaned each piece carefully
And sets them in perfect order
A superhuman puzzle but he is inspired
She leans back twisting this way and that, using it and laughing

Now she has brought his feet, she is connecting them
So that his whole body lights up

And he has fashioned her new hips
With all fittings complete and with newly wound coils, all shiningly oiled
He is polishing every part, he himself can hardly believe it

They keep taking each other to the sun, they find they can easily
To test each new thing at each new step

And now she smoothes over him the plates of his skull
So that the joints are invisible

And now he connects her throat, her breasts and the pit of her stomach
With a single wire

She gives him his teeth, tying the the roots to the centrepin of his body

He sets the little circlets on her fingertips

She stiches his body here and there with steely purple silk

He oils the delicate cogs of her mouth

She inlays with deep cut scrolls the nape of his neck

He sinks into place the inside of her thighs

So, gasping with joy, with cries of wonderment
Like two gods of mud
Sprawling in the dirt, but with infinite care
They bring each other to perfection.

Ted Hughes (17 augustus 1930 – 28 oktober 1998)
Ted Hughes en Sylvia Plath op hun huwelijksreis in 1956

Doorgaan met het lezen van “Ted Hughes, V. S. Naipaul, Nis-Momme Stockmann, Jonathan Franzen, Herta Müller, Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin, Roger Peyrefitte, Hendrik de Vries”

V. S. Naipaul, Jonathan Franzen, Ted Hughes, Herta Müller, Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin, Roger Peyrefitte, Hendrik de Vries

De Britse schrijver Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul werd geboren op 17 augustus 1932 in Chaguanas, Trinidad en Tobago. Zie ook alle tags voor V. S. Naipaul op dit blog en ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2010.

Uit: Miguel Street

“Being a child, I never wondered how Bogart came by any money. I assumed that grown-ups had money as a matter of course. Popo had a wife who worked at a variety of jobs; and ended up by becoming the friend of many men. I could never think of Bogart as having mother or father; and he never brought a woman to his little room. This little room of his was called the servant-room but no servant to the people in the main house ever lived there. It was just an architectural convention.
It is still something of a miracle to me that Bogart managed to make friends. Yet he did make many friends; he was at one time quite the most popular man in the street. I used to see him squatting on the pavement with all the big men of the street. And while Hat or Edward or Eddoes was talking, Bogart would just look down and draw rings with his fingers on the pavement. He never laughed audibly. He never told a story. Yet whenever there was a fete or something like that, everybody would say, ‘We must have Bogart. He smart like hell, that man.’ In a way he gave them great solace and comfort, I suppose.
And so every morning, as I told you, Hat would shout, very loudly, ‘What happening there, Bogart?’
And he would wait for the indeterminate grumble which was Bogart saying, ‘What happening there, Hat?’
But one morning, when Hat shouted, there was no reply. Something which had appeared unalterable was missing.
Bogart had vanished; had left us without a word.
The men in the street were silent and sorrowful for two whole days. They assembled in Bogart’s little room. Hat lifted up the deck of cards that lay on Bogart’s table and dropped two or three cards at a time reflectively.
Hat said, ‘You think he gone Venezuela?’
But no one knew. Bogart told them so little.
And the next morning Hat got up and lit a cigarette and went to his back verandah and was on the point of shouting, when he remembered. He milked the cows earlier than usual that morning, and the cows didn’t like it.
A month passed; then another month. Bogart didn’t return.”

V. S. Naipaul (Chaganuas, 17 augustus 1932)

Doorgaan met het lezen van “V. S. Naipaul, Jonathan Franzen, Ted Hughes, Herta Müller, Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin, Roger Peyrefitte, Hendrik de Vries”

V. S. Naipaul, Jonathan Franzen, Ted Hughes, Theodor Däubler, Herta Müller, Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin, Roger Peyrefitte

De Britse schrijver Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul werd geboren op 17 augustus 1932 in Chaguanas, Trinidad en Tobago. Zie ook alle tags voor V. S. Naipaul op dit blog en ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2010.

Uit: A Bend In the River

“At certain times in some civilizations great leaders can bring out the manhood in the people they lead.  It is different with slaves.  Don’t blame the leaders.  It is just part of the dreadfulness of the situation.  It is better to withdraw from the whole business, if you can.  And I could.  You may say — and I know, Salim, that you have thought it — that I have turned my back on my community and sold out.  I day: ‘Sold out to what and from what? What do you have to offer me? What is your own contribution?  And can you give me back my manhood?’ Anyway, that was what I decided that morning, beside the river of London, between the dolphins and the camels, the work of some dead artist who had been adding to the beauty of their city.
“That was five years ago.  I often wonder what would have happened to me if I hadn’t made that decision.  I suppose I would have sunk.  I suppose I would have found some kind of hole and tried to hide or pass.  After all, we make ourselves according to the ideas we have of our possibilities.  I would have hidden in my hole and been crippled by my sentimentality, doing what I doing, and doing it well, but always looking for the wailing wall.  And I would never have seen the world as the rich place that it is.  You wouldn’t have seen me here in Africa , doing what I do.  I wouldn’t have wanted to do it, and no one would have wanted me to do it.  I would have said: ‘It’s all over for me, so why should I let myself be used by anybody? The Americans want to win the world.  It’s their fight, not mine.’ And that would have been stupid.  It is stupid to talk of the Americans.  They are not a tribe, as you might think from the outside.  They’re all individuals fighting to make their way, trying as hard as you or me not to sink.
“It wasn’t easy after I left the university.  I still had to get a job, and the only thing I knew now was what I didn’t want to do.  I didn’t want to exchange one prison for another.  People like me have to make their own jobs.  It isn’t something that’s going to come to you in a brown envelope. The job is there, waiting.  But it doesn’t exist for you or anyone else until you discover it, and you discover it because it’s for you and you alone.”

V. S. Naipaul (Chaganuas, 17 augustus 1932)

Doorgaan met het lezen van “V. S. Naipaul, Jonathan Franzen, Ted Hughes, Theodor Däubler, Herta Müller, Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin, Roger Peyrefitte”

Jonathan Franzen, Ted Hughes, V. S. Naipaul, Theodor Däubler, Herta Müller, Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin, Roger Peyrefitte

De Amerikaanse schrijver en essayist Jonathan Franzen werd geboren op 17 augustus 1959 in Western Springs, Illinois. Zie ook alle tags voor Jonathan Franzen op dit blog.


Uit: Freedom


“The news about Walter Berglund wasn’t picked up locally-he and Patty had moved away to Washington two years earlier and meant nothing to St. Paul now-but the urban gentry of Ramsey Hill were not so loyal to their city as not to read the New York Times. According to a long and very unflattering story in the Times, Walter had made quite a mess of his professional life out there in the nation’s capital. His old neighbors had some difficulty reconciling the quotes about him in the Times (“arrogant,” “high-handed,” “ethically compromised”) with the generous, smiling, red-faced 3M employee they remembered pedaling his commuter bicycle up Summit Avenue in February snow; it seemed strange that Walter, who was greener than Greenpeace and whose own roots were rural, should be in trouble now for conniving with the coal industry and mistreating country people. Then again, there had always been something not quite right about the Berglunds.

Walter and Patty were the young pioneers of Ramsey Hill – the first college grads to buy a house on Barrier Street since the old heart of St. Paul had fallen on hard times three decades earlier. They paid nothing for their Victorian and then killed themselves for ten years renovating it. Early on, some very determined person torched their garage and twice broke into their car before they got the garage rebuilt.

Sunburned bikers descended on the vacant lot across the alley to drink Schlitz and grill knockwurst and rev engines at small hours until Patty went outside in sweatclothes and said, “Hey, you guys, you know what?” Patty frightened nobody, but she’d been a standout athlete in high school and college and possessed a jock sort of fearlessness. From her first day in the neighborhood, she was helplessly conspicuous. Tall, ponytailed, absurdly young, pushing a stroller past stripped cars and broken beer bottles and barfedupon old snow, she might have been carrying all the hours of her day in the string bags that hung from her stroller. Behind her you could see the baby-encumbered preparations for a morning of baby-encumbered errands; ahead of her, an afternoon of public radio, the Silver Palate Cookbook, cloth diapers, drywall compound, and latex paint; and then Goodnight Moon, then zinfandel. She was already fully the thing that was just starting to happen to the rest of the street.”




Jonathan Franzen (Western Springs, 17 augustus 1959)

Time Cover, augustus 2010

Doorgaan met het lezen van “Jonathan Franzen, Ted Hughes, V. S. Naipaul, Theodor Däubler, Herta Müller, Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin, Roger Peyrefitte”

Jonathan Franzen, V. S. Naipaul, Herta Müller, Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin, Roger Peyrefitte, Nicola Kraus, Ted Hughes, Robert Sabatier, Anton Delvig,Theodor Däubler, Józef Wittlin, Oliver St. John Gogarty, Fredrika Bremer

De Amerikaanse schrijver en essayist Jonathan Franzen werd geboren op 17 augustus 1959 in Western Springs, Illinois. Zie ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2007 en ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2008 en ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2009.

Uit: Freedom

„She attended to the funeral arrangements for her mother-in-law in a mental state whose fragility the autobiographer hopes at least partly explains her poor handling of her discovery that an older neighbor girl, Connie Monaghan, had been preying on Joey sexually. The litany of the mistakes that Patty proceeded to make in the wake of this discovery would exceed the current length of this already long document. The autobiographer is still so ashamed of what she did to Joey that she can’t begin to make a sensible narrative out of it. When you find yourself in the alley behind your neighbor’s house at three in the morning with a box cutter in your hand, destroying the tires of your neighbor’s pickup truck, you can plead insanity as a legal defense. But is it a moral one?

For the defense: Patty had tried, at the outset, to warn Walter about the kind of person she was. She’d told him there was something wrong with her.

For the prosecution: Walter was appropriately wary. Patty was the one who tracked him down in Hibbing and threw herself at him.

For the defense: But she was trying to be good and make a good life! And then she forsook all others and worked hard to be a great mom and homemaker.

For the prosecution: Her motives were bad. She was competing with her mom and sisters. She wanted her kids to be a reproach to them.

For the defense: She loved her kids!

For the prosecution: She loved Jessica an appropriate amount, but Joey she loved way too much. She knew what she was doing and she didn’t stop, because she was mad at Walter for not being what she really wanted, and because she had a bad character and felt she deserved compensation for being a star and a competitor who was trapped in a housewife’s life.“


Jonathan Franzen (Western Springs, 17 augustus 1959)


De Britse schrijver Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul werd geboren op 17 augustus 1932 in Chaguanas, Trinidad en Tobago. Zie ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2006 en ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2007 en ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2008 en ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2009.

Uit: Miguel Street

Every morning when he got up Hat would sit on the banister of his back verandah and shout across, ‘What happening there, Bogart?’
Bogart would turn in his bed and mumble softly, so that no one heard, ‘What happening there, Hat?’
It was something of a mystery why he was called Bogart; but I suspect that it was Hat who gave him the name. I don’t know if you remember the year the film Casablanca was made. That was the year when Bogart’s fame spread like fire through Port of Spain and hundreds of young men began adopting the hardboiled Bogartian attitude.
Before they called him Bogart they called him Patience, because he played that game from morn till night. Yet he never liked cards.
Whenever you went over to Bogart’s little room you found him sitting on his bed with the cards in seven lines on a small table in front of him.
‘What happening there, man?’ he would ask quietly, and then he would say nothing for ten or fifteen minutes. And somehow you felt you couldn’t really talk to Bogart, he looked so bored and superior. His eyes were small and sleepy. His face was fat and his hair was gleaming black.
His arms were plump. Yet he was not a funny man. He did everything with a captivating languor. Even when he licked his thumb to deal out the cards there was grace in it.
He was the most bored man I ever knew.
He made a pretence of making a living by tailoring, and he had even paid me some money to write a sign for him:
TAILOR AND CUTTER Suits made to Order Popular and Competitive Prices

He bought a sewing machine and some blue and white and brown chalks. But I never could imagine him competing with anyone; and I cannot remember him making a suit. He was a little bit like Popo, the carpenter next door, who never made a stick of furniture and was always planing and chiselling and making what I think he called mortises. Whenever I asked him, ‘Mr Popo, what you making?’ he would reply, ‘Ha, boy! That’s the question. I making the thing without a name.’ Bogart was never even making anything like this.“


 V. S. Naipaul (Chaganuas, 17 augustus 1932)


De Duitse schrijfster Herta Müller werd geboren op 17 augustus 1953 in Nitzkydorf, Roemenië. Zie ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2008 en ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2009.

Uit: Niederungen

„Die Grabrede

Auf dem Bahnhof liefen die Verwandten neben dem dampfenden Zug her. Bei jedem Schritt bewegten sie den hochgehobenen Arm und winkten.

Ein junger Mann stand hinter dem Zugfenster. Die Scheibe reichte ihm bis unter die Arme. Er hielt einen Strauß weißer, zerfledderter Blumen vor der Brust. Sein Gesicht war starr. Eine junge Frau trug ein fades Kind aus dem Bahnhof hinaus. Die Frau hatte einen Buckel.

Der Zug fuhr in den Krieg.

Ich knipste den Fernseher aus.

Vater lag in einem Sarg mitten im Zimmer. An den Wänden hingen so viele Bilder, dass man die Wand nicht sah. Auf einem Bild war Vater halb so groß wie der Stuhl, an dem er sich festhielt. Er hatte ein Kleid an und stand auf krummen Beinen, die voller Speckfalten waren. Sein Kopf war birnenförmig und kahl.

Auf einem anderen Bild war Vater Bräutigam. Man sah nur seine halbe Brust. Die andere Hälfte war ein Strauß weißer, zerfledderter Blumen, die Mutter in der Hand hielt. Ihre Köpfe waren so nahe nebeneinander, dass sich ihre Ohrläppchen berührten.

Auf einem anderen Bild stand Vater kerzengerade vor einem Zaun. Unter seinen hohen Schuhen lag Schnee. Der Schnee war so weiß, dass Vater im Leeren stand. Seine Hand war über den Kopf gehoben zum Gruß. Auf seinem Rockkragen waren Runen.

Auf dem Bild, das daneben hing, hielt Vater eine Hacke auf der Schulter. Hinter ihm stand ein Maisstengel, der in den Himmel ragte. Vater hatte einen Hut auf dem Kopf. Der Hut warf einen breiten Schatten und verdeckte Vaters Gesicht.

Auf dem nächsten Bild saß Vater am Lenkrad eines Lastautos. Das Auto war mit Rindern beladen. Vater fuhr jede Woche die Rinder ins Schlachthaus in die Stadt. Vaters Gesicht war schmal und hatte harte Kanten.“


Herta Müller (Nitzkydorf, 17 augustus 1953)


De Ethiopische dichter en schrijver Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin werd geboren op 17 augustus 1936 in Boda bij Ambo. Zie ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2007 en ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2008 en ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2009.

Who Is On Whose Way

I did not know, oh sir, that I stood on your way,
It all happened in chance; argument is unfit,
If we fight, others will benefit,
And as this road is also where my future lay,
Destiny forces me to answer you with “ Nay “
Pray lose no temper: lest you commit
A risk to result in a regrettable wit,
For, if there be crime, guilty is just the day:

I am also in yours as you are in my shoes
So do let us shift sir, to either side
However painful it becomes, we should, though
We realize that it isn’t much to lose
That in spite of us the way is wide
And that after all, someday, both of us go.


Tears Inevitable

Showers of anguish
Rain, do not exhaust
Ocean of revenge
Of the innermost
Voice of the betrayed
Comfort of the lost,

Tears torn of self
Blood of the heart.


Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin (17 augustus 1936 – 25 februari 2006)


De Franse schrijver en diplomaat Roger Peyrefitte werd geboren op 17 augustus 1907 in  Castres. Zie ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2007 en ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2008 en ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2009.

Uit: Der junge Alexander (Vertaald door Sybille A. Rott-Illfeld)

„Sie hatten sich nackt ausgezogen. Der Geruch des Meeres vermischte sich mit dem Duft ihrer Haut. Gedämpft klangen Kitharaklänge (…) an ihre Ohren. Hephaistions Lippen glitten zart über Alexanders Lider. Seit Aristoteles ihnen gesagt hatte, dass die Haut der Lider ebenso empfindlich sei wie die Vorhaut, mochten sie diese Liebkosung ganz besonders. “Erinnerst du dich”, fragte Alexander, “wie wir ihn nach dem Wesen der Lust befragten?” “Er glaubte weder, wie Pythagoras, dass das Sperma aus dem Hirn kommt, noch wie andere Philosophen, aus allen Körperteilen. Er definierte die Lust einfach als `unbändiges Verlangen’, und das schien uns unzureichend. Aber wie soll man solche Dinge auch erklären? Man muss sich damit begnügen, sie zu empfinden.” (…) Ihre Lippen fanden sich und Gott verströmte seine Kraft. (…)


Roger Peyrefitte (17 augustus 1907 – 5 november 2000)


De Amerikaanse schrijfster Nicola Kraus werd geboren op 17 augustus 1974 in New York. Zie ook mijn blog van 7 februari 2009.

Uit: Citizen Girl (Samen met Emma McLaughlin)

„The ladies’ room door squeaks open and I stop breathing, jerking my feet up on the toilet seat lid in an effort to work through my lunch hour in solitude. Rubber soles scuff along the honeycomb tiles as I bend to inch the remains of my lunch out of view, but my pen betrays me, rolling brazenly out of my lap and onto the warped floor.

“Who’s in here?” my boss, Doris, shouts over the din of sweatshop sewing machines whirring up the air shaft. I consider not responding — maybe she’ll think the pipes are now leaking not only asbestos but pens. “Hello-o?” She knocks once on the last stall door before rattling it forcefully. Her tightly permed gray curls appear below me. “Oh, Girl, it’s you.”

I will a cheery smile.

“You have your period again, don’t you?” She stares up disdainfully as she turns a deep red from her inverted stance. “You know, Girl” — she takes in my research materials on the floor — “I’ve provided you with a perfectly good desk.”

“Yes, thank you…” I try to dislodge my crossed legs without stepping on her face. “I was just taking advantage of the quiet to finish my presentation for the conference.” I unlatch the door, and she abruptly shoves it in toward me, spraying the cup of coffee I’d balanced on the toilet-paper dispenser onto my coat. My new coat.

She arches her eyebrows over her multicolored Fimo clay bifocals. “You’re a mess,” she pronounces. “You really should make your lunch at home and bring it with you. You’re not managing your finances very well if you buy those expensive sandwiches every day. But I guess that’d mean you’d actually have to get out of bed on time.” She remains squarely in the stall doorway, indicating that I owe her an explanation.“


Nicola Kraus (New York, 17 augustus 1974)

Emma McLaughlin en Nicola Kraus (rechts)


De Amerikaanse dichter en schrijver Ted Hughes werd geboren op 17 augustus 1930 in Mytholmroyd, Yorkshire. Zie ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2006 en ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2008 en ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2009.


This house has been far out at sea all night,
The woods crashing through darkness, the booming hills,
Winds stampeding the fields under the window
Floundering black astride and blinding wet

Till day rose; then under an orange sky
The hills had new places, and wind wielded
Blade-light, luminous black and emerald,
Flexing like the lens of a mad eye.

At noon I scaled along the house-side as far as
The coal-house door. Once I looked up –
Through the brunt wind that dented the balls of my eyes
The tent of the hills drummed and strained its guyrope,

The fields quivering, the skyline a grimace,
At any second to bang and vanish with a flap;
The wind flung a magpie away and a black-
Back gull bent like an iron bar slowly. The house

Rang like some fine green goblet in the note
That any second would shatter it. Now deep
In chairs, in front of the great fire, we grip
Our hearts and cannot entertain book, thought,

Or each other. We watch the fire blazing,
And feel the roots of the house move, but sit on,
Seeing the window tremble to come in,
Hearing the stones cry out under the horizons.


Pied Beauty

Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.


Ted Hughes (17 augustus 1930 – 28 oktober 1998)


De Franse dichter en schrijver Robert Sabatier werd geboren op 17 augustus 1923 in Parijs. Zie ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2008 en ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2009.

Uit: Le lit de la merveille

” Va où il y a des livres…”

Sur ce conseil insolite d’un clochard, le jeune Julien, qui traîne dans le Paris de l’après-guerre le souvenir d’une blessure d’amour, trouve un petit emploi chez un libraire. Il rencontre Roland, un étudiant dandy, qui le présente bientôt à sa mère Eleanor, une Américaine de Boston, éprise de littérature et d’art français. Ainsi va commencer pour Julien un roman d’apprentissage que Stendhal n’eût pas désavoué.

Apprentissage du monde, d’abord, dans un Paris où l’on croise Aragon, Bachelard, Asturias ou Darius Milhaud. Initiation amoureuse, aussi, qui, bien qu’elle finisse mal, aidera le jeune homme à trouver son destin. Mais la grande affaire, ce sont les livres. ” Viens creuser le lit de la merveille “, a dit à Julien un vieil émigré de l’Est en l’entraînant dans sa bibliothèque. Il ne l’oubliera plus. A travers cette peinture attendrie et souriante du Boul’Mich’ et du Saint-Germain d’autrefois, le romancier des Allumettes suédoises et du Cygne noir salue sa propre jeunesse et la passion de sa vie : la lecture.“


Robert Sabatier (Parijs, 17 augustus 1923)


De Russische dichter Anton Delvig werd geboren op 17 augustus 1798 in Moskou. Zie ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2008 en ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2009.


Don’t say that love will come and go,
Your friend suggests that you forget it,
He thinks that it’s eternal, so
His happiness, he says he’ll bet it.

Why should my soul suppress the will
That flashed and seized me suddenly,
Now let me give myself, and humbly,
All to your tenderness and thrill.

Why should I suffer? What has love
Donated me from up above?
Except for wounds and bitter tear,
Except for sorrow,
pain and fear?

Though love is not a lasting thing
I’ll never see it kiss the ground,
I’ll die with it like the sad sound
Of an abruptly broken string.



Well, what is love? A rambling dream,
The link of charm and admiration!
And you, in reverie and aspiration,
Now moan in agony, now seem

To doze, absorbed in golden slumbers,
And stretch your hand to dreams ahead
Forgetting all your drowsy rambles,
Unwell, and with a heavy head.


Vertaald door Alec Vagapov


Anton Delvig (17 augustus 1798 – 26 januari 1831)


De Duitse dichter en schrijver Theodor Däubler werd geboren op 17 augustus 1876 in Triëst. Zie en ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2009.


Die Sonne hat nur kurz das nasse Tal umschlungen,
Die Pappeln rauschen wieder, neckisch spielt der Wind
Des Baches Schwermut hat gar lang allein geklungen,
Der Wind ist pfiffiger als ein vergnügtes Kind.

Die Wolken wollen kommen. Alles wurde rauher,
Die blassen Pappeln rascheln wie bei einem Guß.
Die nassen Weiden faßt ein kalter Schauer,
Gewaltig saust die Luft, beinahe wie ein Fluß.

Nun soll der Regen kommen! Und es gieße wieder!
Der Sturm ist kraftbegabtes Lautgebraus,
Der Regen bringt die Rhythmen heller Silberlieder,
Die Pappeln wissen das und schlottern schon voraus.

Dem nassen Tal entwallen kalte Atlashüllen,
Und auch die Nebelhauche tauchen raschelnd auf.
Der Wind beginnt die Flur mit Wispern zu erfüllen,
Die Pappeln biegen sich, das Grau nimmt seinen Lauf.


 Theodor Däubler (17 augustus 1876 – 13 juni 1934)


De Poolse dichter en schrijver Józef Wittlin werd geborern in Podolien op 17 augustus 1896 in het toenmalige Oostenrijk-Hongarije. Zie en ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2009.

Hymn of Hatred (Fragment)

Oh no! I will not sing of love today, of what is sacred, angelic, and eternal, powerful
like God, like the immortal He.–I will not sing a hymn of love.
Oh yes! Oh yes! Hatred walks on our streets, snickers, hands on her
hips, totters like a drunk, like that ultimate streetwalker and spits in
the face of anyone who dares to live.
Both you and me.
And oh, how her blinkers blaze!
She saw the cross on a shrine’s golden cupola and a torrent poured
down on it from her piercing eyes. And the cross rusted in shame and
blackened in offense.
Oh, how that once gold cross did turn black.
She cast an abusive word into the church, through the wide open
doors, and holy icons paled and heads turned in their halos, and the
host was covered in mold and spoiled
before it was brought before the people congregated in hunger for the
miracle of
Oh terrible defiled host!
Hatred walks on our streets…and when she spies a mother, a mother
carries the fetus of a child in her womb–the fetus has already turned
to vermin.–And the vermin
chew the maternal womb.
Oh, how awfully the vermin chew the mother’s womb!…
And hatred bewitched an infant in its cradle,
touching it’s shoulders–
And when the mother presses her child to her breast.
And when the mother kisses her infant’s little mouth
–vile leprosy descends on her maternal visage.
Oh, how foully leprosy deformed the mother!


Józef Wittlin (17 augustus 1896 – 28 februari 1976)
Portret door Stefan Mrożewski


De Ierse dichter en schrijver Oliver St. John Gogarty 17 augustus 1878 in Dublin. Hij werkte ook als arts, piloot. Zie en ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2009.

Ode of Welcome

The Gallant Irish yeoman
Home from the war has come
Each victory gained o’er foeman
Why should our bards be dumb.

How shall we sing their praises
Our glory in their deeds
Renowned their worth amazes
Empire their prowess needs.

So to Old Ireland’s hearts and homes
We welcome now our own brave boys
In cot and Hall; neath lordly domes
Love’s heroes share once more our joys.

Love is the Lord of all just now
Be he the husband, lover, son,
Each dauntless soul recalls the vow
By which not fame, but love was won.

United now in fond embrace
Salute with joy each well-loved face
Yeoman: in women’s hearts you hold the place.


Oliver St. John Gogarty (17 augustus 1878 – 22 september 1957)
Portret door Gerald Leslie Brockhurst


De Zweedse schrijfster Fredrika Bremer werd geboren op 17 augustus 1801 in Tuorla bij Piikkiö. Zie en ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2009.

Uit: Nina. Old Acquaintances

„Are you now all assembled here t”—Bellmix. We enter an apartment where soft sofas, handsome mats, clear mirrors, rich window drapery, and so forth, present that picture of comfort, which the great artist of the present age—Utility, pre-eminently strives to establish. With a somewhat over-heated head inclining over a chess hoard, sits on a sofa, the well- preserved President, his Excellency Von G. Before him we see his daughter Edla busily intent upon being check-mated by her father, partly because she has already won one game of him, partly because his Excellency was not in the very best humour. However, the game and the humour of the President now all at once begin to brighten up. “Edla,” he observed,” the queen is a precious piece ; without her there is no life in the game. You must excuse me now for taking yours to give check …. and check-mate you 1″ “Check-mate? Yes, irretrievably!” exclaimed Edla. ” That, upon my word, was an excellent move. How foolishly my bishops stand there.” His Excellency turned up his nose, snuffed, and chapter{Section 4could not for the world suppress a hearty laugh at the astonished look of his daughter, then he very pleasantly said: ” My good child, if you are not too weary with being check-mated, give me a cup of tea.” ” Directly,” said Edla, with gladsome readir.’ess. The President stretched himself out very comfortably on the sofa. At a little distance from these, we behold another group near the window. A very handsome young lady is occupied in painting some fresh flowers, which stand before her in a glass. Another lady, not young, and still less handsome, but with a most elaborate toilette, sits next to her embroidering a shepherdess in tapestry.“


Fredrika Bremer (17 augustus 1801 – 31 december 1865)
Portret door Olaf Johan Södermark

Jonathan Franzen, Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin, Roger Peyrefitte, V. S. Naipaul, Ted Hughes, Anton Delvig, Robert Sabatier, Herta Müller

De Amerikaanse schrijver Jonathan Franzen werd geboren op 17 augustus 1959 in Western Springs, Illinois. Zie ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2007.

Uit: The Discomfort Zone


Our friend Kirby, it turned out, had charmed the owner of the Florida house, and the beer keg was fully operational, and so our last week of living like rich people unfolded amicably. I spent morbid, delicious amounts of time by myself, driven by the sort of hormonal instinct that I imagine leads cats to eat grass. The half-finished high-rises to our east were poised to engulf our idyll, even if we’d wanted to come back another year, but the transformation of a quiet, sandpiper-friendly beach into a high-density population center was such a novelty for us that we didn’t even have a category for the loss it represented. I studied the skeletal towers the way I studied bad weather.

At the end of the week, my parents and I drove deeper into Florida, so that I could be taken to Disney World. My father was big on fairness, and because my brothers had once spent a day at Disneyland, many years earlier, it was unthinkable that I not be given the equivalent treat of a day at Disney World, whether or not I was too old for it, and whether or not I wanted to be there. I might not have minded going with my friend Manley, or with my not-girlfriend Hoener, and mocking and subverting the place and allowing myself to like it that way. But mocking and subverting in the presence of my parents was out of the question.”



Jonathan Franzen (Western Springs, 17 augustus 1959)


De Ethiopische schrijver Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin werd geboren op 17 augustus 1936 in Boda bij Ambo. Zie ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2007.


Uit: Literature and the African Public


But as to why these trees of African languages were not, so fur, given enough chance to bear fruit, demands of us, to face certain rigid factors of history and politics.

What was Africa considered to be before the colonial days? The Westerners had mostly to rely on what their travelers, their ivory hunters and slave traders reported to them, followed by the information from their missionaries and finally through the suppressed echoes of the whip of their colonial administrators. As such, the first introduction of the black man in the concept of the Western, was in the image of a humiliated humanity. The slander to his dignity, to his way of life, to his values, which so incessantly recur as a matter of fact across the “civilized” world today, drew breath, then. Although his social systems were almost, destroyed although condemned to grapple with these world wide historic and current realities which negate his values, yet, it is still not by his capacity as an individual, not by his success or failure as a member of a group reflection, but the color of his skin and his physical characteristics appeared to be the core of the element by which the Western master judged him. He is put on trial by his very appearance and played the underdog of his country’s class structures.


Out of these and against these, the African was taught to protest in his master’s ways, in his master’s values, in his master’s language. Yet Africa was never mute in her own heritage of self expressions before or after the colonial days. The problem is how to record her abundant oral literatures in her own languages and preserve them for her children, how to record the very social traditions both in their similar and contradicting shades and evolve them in a harmony of oneness through the taste of time and the criteria of their own humane level, since any language should be given a chance to develop its potential of literature.”



Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin (17 augustus 1936 – 25 februari 2006)


De Franse schrijver en diplomaat Roger Peyrefitte werd geboren op 17 augustus 1907 in  Castres. Zie ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2007.


Uit: Les Amitiés particulières



Roger Peyrefitte (17 augustus 1907 – 5 november 2000)



De Britse schrijver Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul werd geboren op 17 augustus 1932 in Chaguanas, Trinidad en Tobago. Zie ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2006 en ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2007.


Uit: The Enigma of Arrival


To see the possibility, the certainty, of ruin, even at the moment of creation: it was my temperament. Those nerves had been given me as a child in Trinidad partly by our family circumstances: the half-ruined or broken-down houses we lived in, our many moves, our general uncertainty. Possibly, too, this mode of feeling went deeper, and was an ancestral inheritance, something that came with the history that had made me: not only India, with its ideas of a world outside men’s control, but also the colonial plantations or estates of Trinidad, to which my impoverished Indian ancestors had been transported in the last century – estates of which this Wiltshire estate, where I now lived, had been the apotheosis.
Fifty years ago there would have been no room for me on the estate; even now my presence was a little unlikely. But more than accident had brought me here. Or rather, in the series of accidents that had brought me to the manor cottage, with a view of the restored church, there was a clear historical line. The migration, within the British Empire, from India to Trinidad had given me the English language as my own, and a particular kind of education. This had partly seeded my wish to be a writer in a particular mode, and had committed me to the literary career I had been following in England for twenty years.
The history I carried with me, together with the self-awareness that had come with my education and ambition, had sent me into the world with a sense of glory dead; and in England had given me the rawest stranger’s nerves. Now ironically – or aptly – living in the grounds of this shrunken estate, going out for my walks, those nerves were soothed, and in the wild garden and orchard beside the water meadows I found a physical beauty perfectly suited to my temperament and answering, besides, every good idea I could have had, as a child in Trinidad, of the physical aspect of England.”



V. S. Naipaul (Chaganuas, 17 augustus 1932)


De Engelse dichter en schrijver Ted Hughes werd geboren op 17 augustus 1930 in Mytholmroyd, Yorkshire. Zie ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2006.



He loved her and she loved him.
His kisses sucked out her whole past and future or tried to
He had no other appetite
She bit him she gnawed him she sucked
She wanted him complete inside her
Safe and sure forever and ever
Their little cries fluttered into the curtains

Her ey
es wanted nothing to get away
Her looks nailed down his hands his wrists his elbows
He gripped her hard so that life
Should not drag her from that moment
He wanted all future to cease
He wanted to topple with his arms round her
Off that moment’s brink and into nothing
Or everlasting or whatever there was

Her embrace was an immense press
To print him into her bones
His smiles were the garrets of a fairy palace
Where the real world would never come
Her smiles were spider bites
So he would lie still till she felt hungry
His words were occupying armies
Her laughs were an assassin’s attempts
His looks were bullets daggers of revenge
His glances were ghosts in the corner with horrible secrets
His whispers were whips and jackboots
Her kisses were lawyers steadily writing
His caresses were the last hooks of a castaway
Her love-tricks were the grinding of locks
And their deep cries crawled over the floors
Like an animal dragging a great trap
His promises were the surgeon’s gag
Her promises took the top off his skull
She would get a brooch made of it
His vows pulled out all her sinews
He showed her how to make a love-knot
Her vows put his eyes in formalin
At the back of her secret drawer
Their screams stuck in the wall

Their heads fell apart into sleep like the two halves
Of a lopped melon, but love is hard to stop

In their entwined sleep they exchanged arms and legs
In their dreams their brains took each other hostage

In the morning they wore each other’s face



Ted Hughes (17 augustus 1930 – 28 oktober 1998)


De Russische dichter Anton Delvig werd geboren op 17 augustus 1798 in Moskou. Hij studeerde samen met Aleksandr Poesjkin aan het lyceum Zarskoje Selo en raakte met hem bevriend. Samen gaven ze de Literaturnaya Gazeta uit (1830-1831). Delvig stond in de traditie van het Russische neoclassicisme.



Russisches Lied


Sang wohl, sang das Vögelein,
Und verstummte.
Ward dem Herzen Freude kund,
Und Vergessen.


Vöglein, das so gerne singt,
Warum schweigt es?
Herz, was ist mit dir geschehn,
Daß du traurig?


Ach, das Vöglein tötete
Rauher Schneesturm,
Und das Herz des Burschen brach
Böses Reden.


Wär’ das Vöglein gern geflogen
Fort zum Meere,
Wär’ der Bursche gern entflohen
In die Wälder.


In dem Meere treibt die Flut,
Doch kein Schneesturm –
Wilde Tiere birgt der Wald,
Doch nicht Menschen.



Vertaald door Friedrich Bodenstedt



Der Dichter


Lang verbirgt er im Herzen die tiefen Gefühl’ und Gedanken:
Scheint mit den Menschen, mit uns, nicht sie zu teilen bereit!
Selten nur so – nach demWillen des Himmels? – beginnt er zu singen,
Götter! dann bringt uns sein Lied Leben und Liebe und Glück,
Ganz wie in uraltem Wein, dem teuren Gaste kredenzet,
Schmeicheln den Sinnen zugleich: Farbe und Duft und



Vertaald door Rolf-Dietrich Keil



Anton Delvig (17 augustus 1798 – 26 januari 1831)


De Franse dichter en schrijver Robert Sabatier werd geboren op 17 augustus 1923 in Parijs. Sinds 1971 is hij lid van de l’Académie Goncourt. Hij schrijft gedichten die de invloed verraden van het surrealisme. In zijn proza draait het vaak om outsiders Sabatier schreef eveneens een Histoire de la Poésie française.




Adieu mon livre, adieu ma page écrite,
Se détachant de moi comme une feuille,
Me laissant nu comme un cliché d’automne.


Je vous dédie une arche de parole
Pour naviguer, mes amis, naviguer
Dans ma mémoire où se taisent les loups.


Vole ma feuille au-dessus de la ville,
Franchis le fleuve et détruis la frontière.
Amour, amour, ô ma géographie!


Et si tu cours au fil de l’onde, un songe
Recueillera mes images mouillées
Que dans un pré le soleil séchera.


Poète ici, poète comme un arbre
Offrant sa feuille à la terre gourmande
Et dans l’humus herbe ressuscitant.


Un autre livre, une parole neuve,
Les mêmes mots dans d’autres mariages
Et toujours l’homme et son tapis volant.



Robert Sabatier (Parijs, 17 augustus 1923)


De Duitse schrijfster Herta Müller werd geboren op 17 augustus 1953 in Nitzkydorf, Roemenië. Zij studeerde germanistiek en Roemeense literatuur aan de universiteit van het westen in Timişoara. Vanaf 1976 werkte zij als vertaalster in een machinefabriek, maar toen ze in 1979 niet wilde samenwerken met de Securitate werd zij ontslagen. Zij werkte tijdelijk als docente en privélerares. In 1982 kon haar eerste roman slechts in een gecensureerde versie verschijnen. In 1987 emigreerde zij met haar man naar de BRD. Ze kreeg in de volgende jaren verschillende leeropdrachten als writer in residence.


Uit: Der König verneigt sich und tötet


In der Dorfsprache – so schien es mir als Kind – lagen bei allen Leuten um mich herum die Worte direkt auf den Dingen, die sie bezeichneten. Die Dinge hießen genauso, wie sie waren, und sie waren genauso, wie sie hießen. Ein für immer geschlossenes Einverständnis. Es gab für die meisten Leute keine Lücken, durch die man zwischen Wort und Gegenstand hindurch schauen und ins Nichts starren mußte, als rutsche man aus seiner Haut ins Leere. Die alltäglichen Handgriffe waren instinktiv, wortlos eingeübte Arbeit, der Kopf ging den Weg der Handgriffe nicht mit und hatte auch nicht seine eigenen, abweichenden Wege. Der Kopf war da, um die Augen und Ohren zu tragen, die man beim Arbeiten brauchte. Die Redewendung: »Der hat seinen Kopf auf den Schultern, damit es ihm nicht in den Hals regnet,« dieser Spruch konnte auf den Alltag aller angewendet werden. Oder doch nicht? Warum riet meine Großmutter meiner Mutter, wenn es Winter und draußen nichts zu tun, wenn mein Vater ohne Unterlaß Tage hintereinander sturzbesoffen war: »Wenn du meinst, daß du nicht durchhältst, dann räum den Schrank auf.« Den Kopf still stellen durchs Hin- und Herräumen von Wäsche. Die Mutter sollte ihre Blusen und seine Hemden, ihre Strümpfe und seine Socken, ihre Röcke und seine Hosen neu falten und stapeln oder nebeneinander hängen. Frisch beieinander sollten die Kleider der Beiden verhindern, daß er sich aus dieser Ehe heraus säuft.”



Herta Müller (Nitzkydorf, 17 augustus 1953)

Jonathan Franzen, Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin, Roger Peyrefitte, V. S. Naipaul

De Amerikaanse schrijver Jonathan Franzen werd geboren op 17 augustus 1959 in Western Springs, Illinois. Hij groeide op in St. Louis en studeerde in het begin van de jaren tachtig in Berlijn. In 1988 verscheen zijn debuutroman The Twenty-Seventh City. In 1992 volgde Strong Motion en in 2001 kreeg hij voor zijn derde boek The Corrections de National Book Award. In 2002 verscheen de bundel essays How to be alone. 

Uit: The Corrections 

„The madness of an autumn prairie cold front coming through. You could feel it: something terrible was going to happen. The sun low in the sky, a minor light, a cooling star. Gust after gust of disorder. Trees restless, temperatures falling, the whole northern religion of things coming to an end. No children in the yards here. Shadows lengthened on yellowing zoysia. Red oaks and pin oaks and swamp white oaks rained acorns on houses with no mortgage. Storm windows shuddered in the empty bedrooms. And the drone and hiccup of a clothes dryer, the nasal contention of a leaf blower, the ripening of local apples in a paper bag, the smell of the gasoline with which Alfred Lambert had cleaned the paintbrush from his morning painting of the wicker love seat.Three in the afternoon was a time of danger in these gerontocratic suburbs of St. Jude. Alfred had awakened in the great blue chair in which he’d been sleeping since lunch. He’d had his nap and there would be no local news until five o’clock. Two empty hours were a sinus in which infections, bred. He struggled to his feet and stood by the Ping-Pong table, listening in vain for Enid.”   


Jonathan Franzen (Western Springs, 17 augustus 1959)


De Ethiopische schrijver Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin werd geboren op 17 augustus 1936 in Boda bij Ambo. Hij studeerde experimenteel theater in Londen en Parijs. Van 1961 tot 1971 was hij directeur van het Ethiopische Nationale Theater. Hij schreef gedichten, toneelstukken en essays. Zijn moedertaal was het Afaan Oromo, maar hij schreef in het Amhaars. Zijn landgenoten vergeleken hem met Shakespeare. Van hem vertaalde Gabre-Medhin ook werk, evenals van Brecht en Molière.  


Prologue to African Conscience

Tamed to bend
Into the model chairs
Carpentered for it
By the friendly pharos of its time
The black conscience flutters
Yet is taken in.

it looks right
It looks left
It forgets to look into its own self:
The broken yoke threatens to return
Only, this time
In the luring shape
Of luxury and golden chains
That frees the body
And enslaves the mind.

Into its head
The old dragon sun
Now breathes hot civilization
And the wise brains
Of the strong sons of the tribes
With an even more strange suffocation.

Its new self awareness
(In spite of its tribal ills)
Wishes to patch
its torn spirits together:
Its past and present masters
(With their army of ghosts
That remained to haunt the earth)
Hook its innermost soul
And tear it apart:
And the african conscience
Still moans molested
Still remains drifting uprooted.



Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin (17 augustus 1936 – 25 februari 2006)


De Franse schrijver en diplomaat Roger Peyrefitte werd geboren op 17 augustus 1907 in  Castres. Na zijn afstuderen ving hij een diplomatieke carrière aan als ambassadesecretaris in Athene van 1933 tot 1938. Zijn openbaar homoseksueel gedrag werd een tijdje gedoogd tot hij gedwongen werd ontslag te nemen om ‘familiale redenen’. Terug op de Quai d’Orsay, het hoofdkwartier van de Franse diplomaten, gaf hij na enige tijd ontslag ‘om persoonlijke redenen’, maar werd in volle oorlogstijd in 1943 gereïntegreerd in de “carrière”. In februari 1945 zag hij zich verplicht, nu om politieke redenen, zich volledig uit de diplomatieke wereld terug te trekken. Ondertussen was hij een literaire loopbaan begonnen met de publicatie van de ‘Amitiés’, dat een overweldigend succes kende en meteen bekroond werd met de Renaudot-prijs. In 1964 werd het boek ‘Les Amitiés particuliéres’ verfilmd.    

 Uit: Roy 

« En un tournemain, il ôta sa robe de chambre pour se présenter sans voiles dans toute sa gloire. Puis, avec délices, il défit la ceinture de Bob, lui enleva le T-shirt de la strict éducation, son
slip, son short, le contempla nu, avec ses chaussettes, ses baskets et son sexe, aussi raide que le sien. C’est Roy qui agissait avec l’autorité de l’acte final qu’il s’apprêtait à accomplir. Un de ses doigts gagna l’orifice dans lequel Jim avait joui ici, l’automne dernier. Bob, à son tour, le caressait au même endroit. « Ah ! ce cul toujours sans poils », dit-il. Roy continuait à tâter la place, si tendrement velue, qui avait encore la moiteur de la course.


Roger Peyrefitte (17 augustus 1907 – 5 november 2000)


De Britse schrijver Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul werd geboren op 17 augustus 1932 in Chaguanas, Trinidad en Tobago. Zie ook mijn blog van 17 augustus 2006.


Uit: Half a Life 

“Roger said one day, “My editor is coming to London soon. You know I do him a weekly letter about books and plays. I also drop the odd word about cultural personalities. He pays me ten pounds a week. I suppose he’s coming to check on me. He says he wants to meet my friends. I’ve promised him an intellectual London dinner party, and you must come, Willie. It will be the first party in the Marble Arch house. I’ll present you as a literary star to be. In Proust there’s a social figure called Swann. He likes sometimes for his own pleasure to bring together dissimilar people, to create a social nosegay, as he says. I am hoping to do something like that for the editor. There’ll be a Negro I met in West Africa when I did my National Service. He is the son of a West Indian who went to live in West Africa as part of the Back to Africa movement. His name is Marcus, after the black crook who founded the movement. You’ll like him. He’s very charming, very urbane. He is dedicated to inter-racial sex and is quite insatiable. When we first met in West Africa his talk was almost all about sex. To keep my end up I said that African women were attractive. He said, ‘If you like the animal thing.’ He is now training to be a diplomat for when his country becomes independent, and to him London is paradise. He has two ambitions. The first is to have a grandchild who will be pure white in appearance. He is half-way there. He has five mulatto children, by five white women, and he feels that all he has to do now is to keep an eye on the children and make sure they don’t let him down. He wants when he is old to walk down the King’s Road with this white grand child. People will stare and the child will say, loudly, ‘What are they staring at, Grandfather?’ His second ambition is to be the first black man to have an account at Coutts. That’s the Queen’s bank.”    


V. S. Naipaul (Chaganuas, 17 augustus 1932)