This literature course introduces students to Dutch writing from the seventeenth century to the present. It offers a wealth of highlights of Dutch literature in relationship to gender, women’s writing and sexuality, while contextualizing these themes in the society and history of the Low Countries. Women authors have always contributed to Dutch literature, but their position and significance has been systematically occluded. Students will learn to analyse this paradox by reading works of women writers and by studying the mechanisms of (literary) history-writing. Students will also study, analyse and discuss gendered readings of Dutch literature, as well as several works in which sexuality is a theme. Primary texts include Multatuli’s Max Havelaar (1860), The Diary of Anne Frank (1947), Jan Wolker’s Turkish Delight (1973) and Anja Meulenbelt’s Shame is Over (1976).
Students will have the opportunity of studying in Amsterdam, the literary centre of the Low Countries from the seventeenth century to the present, and will thus come to appreciate the environment in which the works examined were composed. In addition to seminar lectures and discussions, students will visit museums, an author’s mansion, and Amsterdam’s literary sites, such as the Multatuli Museum, the Tropenmuseum and the Anne Frank Museum.