Author

Theo Thijssen

Theo Thijssen (1879-1943) was author, teacher and socialist politician. He is best known for his book Kees de jongen (Young Kees, 1923), the story of a working-class boy in Amsterdam that became a classic and on which a film was based. In 2007 the CPNB Foundation (Collective Propaganda for the Dutch Book) made Thijssen’s novel De gelukkige klas (The Happy Class, 1926) the centrepiece of a reading-promotion campaign. It was published in a record print run of almost a million copies that were handed out free of charge to members of Dutch public libraries and to secondary-school children. All over the country libraries organised talks about Thijssen and this book. The complete works of Theo Thijssen were published in 2003 in four volumes.

Kees the Boy

Kees the Boy

(Athenaeum-Polak & Van Gennep, 1923, 380 pages)

Kees the Boy is that rare early twentieth- century Dutch novel that never seems to go out of print. Every new generation finds something to identify with in this moving, funny book about what’s going on inside the head of an ordinary boy from Amsterdam at the turn of the century.

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The Happy Class

The Happy Class

(Athenaeum-Polak & Van Gennep, 1926, 277 pages)

‘Don’t let anyone tell you being a schoolmaster isn’t an adventurous job…’ The speaker is Staal, a teacher at an Amsterdam school for poor children in the early twentieth century. There is little prestige attached to the post and his wife thinks he should look for a better job, but Staal sees his work as a calling. He wants to help the forty young individuals in his charge to get on in life. So while pretending to be studying for his French diploma he writes his diary, recording observations, concerns and ideas about education and child-rearing.

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