June 17, 2009

Van Deyssel’s beautifully indecent book, or: how to return a compliment

Filed under: Literature by Branko Collin @ 9:30 am

Albert Verwey wrote about Lodewijk van Deyssel’s 1887 novel Een Liefde (A Love), considered pornographic at the time:

Van Deyssel’s novel has two qualities. It is beautiful and it is indecent. Because of its indecency, it is either being ignored or called names—in turn I want to praise it for its beauty. That novel is like a person who knocks at a door, the door of literature. Some pretend they do not hear the knock. Others say: “go away, you are indecent.” Now I am going to say: “Enter, because you are beautiful.”

Van Deyssel knew how to take a compliment, and replied:


Tags: , , , , ,