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Open Access Het gelijk van de schrijver - Willem Frederik Hermans’ fictieve discussie met Jean-Paul Sartre

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In discussions on the social impact of literature, literary commitment is often opposed to literary autonomy. Within the field of Dutch literature, Willem Frederik Hermans is generally understood as one of the most important representatives and supporters of literary autonomy. Jean-Paul Sartre, on the other hand, is generally considered as one of the world’s most famous representatives and supporters of committed literature. In this article, Hermans’ and Sartre’s positions, however, are not conceived of as opposite stances, but as two different ways of understanding literature’s social relevance. It will be stated that both Hermans and Sartre seek to understand the writer’s social role, but that their views are based on fundamentally different world views and, subsequently, on different ideas of historical truth. Viewed from this perspective, Hermans’ work appears to be not opposed to literary commitment but rather shows what kind of literary commitment would be possible in a world where moral realism and ideological truths are highly problematic. One of Hermans’ least discussed novels, Ik heb altijd gelijk (1951), will be considered as an exemplary manifestation of this view.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Universiteit van Amsterdam

Publication date: December 1, 2012

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  • Het tijdschrift Nederlandse Letterkunde is een wetenschappelijk, peer-reviewed tijdschrift voor de Nederlandstalige letterkunde. Het tijdschrift is een podium voor vakbeoefening in al haar vormen en facetten. De diverse bijdragen beslaan in hun totaliteit het gehele spectrum van Nederlandstalige letterkunde van de Middeleeuwen tot heden. Een jaargang Nederlandse Letterkunde telt drie afleveringen waarvan er steeds één aan een actueel thema gewijd wordt.

    The Dutch-language journal Nederlandse Letterkunde (Dutch Literature) is an academic peer-reviewed journal for Dutch literature. The various contributions cover the entire spectrum of Dutch literature from the Middle Ages to the present. Nederlandse Letterkunde publishes three issues a year of which one is devoted to a contemporary topic.
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