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‘Opdat ik heenga als een man’

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Abstract

‘That I may perish like a man’. War and masculinity

This essay focuses on the cultural representation of masculinity in times of war. It unravels the gender effects of the topic ‘call to arms’ in which men are addressed as soldiers while women are often relegated to invisibility or to a helping role. Thus, the onset of war creates gender. The topic reconstitution of men and women in times of war is first analysed in a selected corpus of Dutch war poetry (Jan Camperts ‘Het lied der achttien dooden’ (1943) among others), secondly in Michael Curtiz’ classic film Casablanca (1942) and finally in W.F. Hermans’ novel De donkere kamer van Damocles (1958). Cultural texts can create genders, as I am demonstrating through a detailed analysis of Casablanca, but they can also resist this creation and critically enlighten its failure, which is, in my view, the gender scenario of De donkere kamer van Damocles.
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Keywords: Jan Campert; Michael Curtiz; Second World War; W.F. Hermans; cultural texts and gender; masculinity in times of war; trope ‘call to arms’

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2019

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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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