Van Gogh’s letters and Max Havelaar in English


English translations of Vincent van Gogh’s letters to his brother Theo have been released in a 6 volume boxed set by the Van Gogh Museum in a 15-year-long cooperation with the Huygens Instituut. The original letters in French and Dutch have also been reproduced.

The entire set contains all the pictures referenced in the letters, that is, all 4,300 of them, The Guardian reports.

If you don’t feel like shelling out the 325 UKP that the set is undoubtedly worth, you can also read the letters and their translations at The Huygens Instituut is part of the Dutch academy for sciences.

Story via (Dutch), who in a totally unrelated story also points out that another Dutch giant of the 19th century, writer Multatuli, published his masterpiece Max Havelaar 150 years ago last Tuesday. The Havelaar has been in translation for a long time, and a public domain English version can be found at Google Books.

If you do not like PDF or EPUB, you might be able to extract the HTML version from the EPUB file (which is just a ZIP archive under a different name).

Meanwhile the Distributed Proofreaders are working on a German translation. If you log in (everyone can register), you can download the provisional version in TXT format. Check the Project State to see if the book has perhaps already been posted to Project Gutenberg.

I had to read Max Havelaar in high school, and remember that for once reading Dutch literature did not feel like a punishment (the other exception being Bordewijk’s Bint).

From the foreword:

Max Havelaar was published a few years ago, and caused such a sensation in Holland as was never before experienced in that country.

The author wrote it under the pseudonym of Multatuli, but his real name, Eduard Douwes Dekker, formerly Assistant Resident of the Dutch Government in Java, at once became known. Full of fire, and overflowing with enthusiasm, the author presented it to his countrymen in the form of a novel, a book wherein he made them acquainted with the incredible extortions and tyranny of which the natives of the Dutch Indies, “that magnificent empire of Insulind, which winds about the equator like a garland of emeralds,” are the victims, and how he tried in vain, while still in the service of the Government, to put an end to the cruel oppressions that happen every day in those countries.

Though some considered his book to be merely an interesting and captivating novel, the author maintained that it contained nothing but facts.

1 Comment »

  1. Darth Paul says:

    You mean Kindle hasn’t seized this booty yet? LOL

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