There is always something pleading about promoting reading in the Netherlands. But making literature pathetic doesn’t work.

It’s amazing, says a Dutch acquaintance in Paris, “You really see people with writers everywhere here. In the Netherlands, no one reads anymore.”

exaggerated, perhaps; Many books have been sold during the pandemic. What seems to be collapsing in the Netherlands is the culture of reading. The physical book store is going through hard times. Book supplements withered. with launch bike in the sea The last program devoted to literature has disappeared from television. The CPNB’s list of sixty bestsellers contains, with few exceptions, primarily pamphlets, usually related to television or celebrities.

Regarding young people: everywhere boys read less than girls, but Dutch boys read much less than boys in most other countries. Dutch girls read, no one is surprised, always less than most boys abroad.

Classical literature is dismissed as a hopeless cause. This summer, the director of the Chinese Communist Party, Evelyn Eindekerk, had to walk through the dust after saying so bitter grass By Marga Minkow A killer for the “joy of reading” in young people: “If you don’t read much and you should bitter grass Reading, all your preconceived notions about reading will be confirmed. Then the pleasure of reading is subtly smothered.” Condescending, too blunt for words—literary Holland on its hind legs. Aendekerk apologized, even to the Minkow family.

I understood what she was saying: If you’re outside of a reading culture, you’re less likely to convert when you’re forced to be introduced to the classics. Disturbing, however, is the implication that the “pleasure of reading” is something that does not require mental effort, and that what you read should relate directly to what is already familiar. You throw the baby with the bath water.

Habib passed out

Reading and cultural promotion is always a thing in the Netherlands begging. It’s the begging of a dumped lover who hopes to sleep with his ex-wife one last time. I know you don’t love me anymore, but I will do whatever you want.

Do not impose anything, and especially nothing coercionThen they withdraw immediately. This is why role models are always used. If Famke Louise struggled through a book it might be skipped, you never know.

How do you keep literary culture alive in the media age? in Norwegian Refugee Council The same Aendeweg recently lamented the disappearance bike in the sea. This time she paid more attention to her words: “Lesser-known writers, translators, and painters also deserve opportunity and cherish, not for their own sake, but for our culture, which otherwise becomes rigid and atrophied.”

Nice outs. But mostly most of the writers seem a bit pathetic. Aendeweg uses the word “weak”. It is about unknown souls that we must “cherish”, if only because otherwise our culture will “harden and impoverish”.

Something like that does not impress the broadcaster Frans Klein, under his leadership bike in the sea Neck turned. He owes his entire career to a frozen and impoverished culture.

Do not make literature and writers pathetic. Traditional literary culture is dying, but there is hardly any creative thought about how to shape it in a new context

Do not make literature and writers pathetic. Traditional literary culture is dying, but there is hardly any creative thought about how to shape it in a new context. Ten years ago, a group of “untrained” young readers spontaneously organized a month by month Literaturfest – Every time there was such four hundred Young people for a festive evening about books. Well-known and lesser-known authors shared with the public their enthusiasm for the work of other writers; I remember Donna Tartt’s enthusiastic appeal to Dickens’ work. Those evenings never had a sequel, although there were podcasts and Booktok. Readers love to talk about books with each other and share their experiences with each other. I like somewhere with a soul Literaturfestmaking a case for novels that touched me, such as you are mine By Peter Middendorp, a novel of impotence and rage that is sure to become a modern classic. Or very funny Golden days by Berend Sommer, in which the young characters are passionately searching for an authentic way of life, but they can only express themselves in empty, fashionable language.

And those unread classics? During a guest writing assignment at the University of Paris-Sorbonne, I was asked to speak to a group of young Dutch men, whose parents worked in France, about Louis Couperus. To set the mood, I asked: Which of you has read a novel?

The hands of the forty or so attendees rose. I still have two hours, about Couperus the Arab, a writer who is now being translated because he is no longer understood.

Nevertheless, it was interesting, as far as the teacher can judge. We talked about the relationship of the Couperus novels to our lives. Are his characters so far removed from us? More often – mention Ellen Vere and Constance van der Welk, the hero of the cycle of novels Little Souls Books It’s about people who realize that the life they lead is meaningless.

How are you supposed to live if you have to figure it all out on your own? This is not the question we left behind in the early twentieth century. Then there is the main character of Dutch colonist Otto van Odyck The silent forcewho wants to be fair with the Indonesian people in everything, but in the end he is blind to what is happening in front of him, because he thinks from rules and principles.

Can you identify him?

very much alive

Next year is the year of Cooperus, and he has been dead for a hundred years. Is something organized? I don’t mean to reveal another image, nostalgic stuff, or Hague feelings about a city that has often been hell on earth for a writer. I mean attention to the vivid themes of this great work. It is about how our imagination, which we need to live out, easily turns into a fantasy, leaving us in a mess rabbit hole From sheer madness. It’s about how sexuality is an undercurrent in our lives, how fluid our identity and gender are, and our petty obsessions with boxes and cubicles in a world that doesn’t care about our existence.

Let the reader lose sight of this work, let him introduce his own themes, his own passions, his own desires and fears. These narratives are ours, they are very much alive, but we need to reconnect with them. That’s the job.

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