Red Dust 2: New Writing

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Red Dust, Jan 1, 1972 - Short stories, English - 139 pages
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About the author (1972)

Vestdijk is known in The Netherlands as the most erudite and prolific writer of the twentieth century. In addition to more than 50 novels, he published 7 volumes of short stories, 22 books of poetry, 33 collections of essays and critical prose, and a number of nonfiction works on topics varying from astrology to philosophy. A physician, he worked as a ship's doctor before he turned to writing prose full-time. He was one of the first novelists in The Netherlands to make a living solely by writing. His first several novels were so authentically autobiographical and loaded with topical references that to this day it is possible to make a "Vestdijk-tour" of Harlingen, the village in the province of Friesland where he grew up. A major part of these works is taken up by a narration, i.e. a thorough psychological analysis in literary form, of his youth and puberty. He clearly saw this period of his life as anything but paradisiacal, especially since his personality and talents were often misunderstood and underestimated by the less gifted people in his immediate environment. More impressive even than his extensive series of so-called psychological novels are his historical novels, which deal with a variety of places and periods---classical Greece, Christ's Palestine, Spain during the Inquisition and the painter El Greco, The Netherlands during its struggle for freedom in the seventeenth century, and impoverished Ireland in the nineteenth century. In these novels, he investigates psychologically the behavior of his protagonists relative to their times and circumstances with convincing results from both a literary and a psychological perspective.

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