Willem Frederik Hermans (1 sep 1921 - 27 apr 1995)
Considered one of the major post-war novelists in the Netherlands, Hermans shares with most of his contemporaries a world view of disillusion. There is no God; ideals are futile; people are driven by forces over which they have no control. If good and bad exist, we can not discern them. We cannot know another man's motives, we are blind to each other's needs; even if we are willing, we are powerless to understand or help each other. Life has no meaning.
Hermans writes in a very clear, understated style, which delays the impact of his thoroughly sarcastic message.
Some of his most famous works (please visit a Hermans website for more details):
- Het behouden huis (short story)
- the randomness of war
- De donkere kamer van Damocles
- trust during wartime
- Nooit meer slapen
- the illusion of science
- Onder professoren
- the comedy of life in academia
- Mandarijnen op zwavelzuur (essays)
- a demonstration of sarcasm in public debate
Hermans was a loner, shy, but never shy of conflicts in public life, nor in his professional life as a geologist and as a writer. In 1971, he refused the Dutch state prize for literature, the P.C. Hooftprijs