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Benno Barnard

Benno Barnard (b. 1954) has published various collections of poetry (Tijdgenoten, Contemporaries, 1994; De schipbreukeling, The Castaway, 1996), a monologue for the stage (Het mens, That Woman, 1996), and three books which are half-essay, half-autobiography: Uitgesteld paradijs (Paradise Postponed, 1987, Geertjan Lubberhuizen Prize), Het gat in de wereld (The Hole in the World, 1993) and Door God bij Europa verwekt (1996).

Het gat in de wereld

Het gat in de wereld

(Atlas, 1993)

Barnard, who grew up as the son of a clergyman poet, has been on the move all his adult life, as if the weight of tradition threatened to consume him. Het gat in de wereld, autobiographical prose halfway between story and essay, describes his time as a guest lecturer at Austin University as well as trips to Prague, the former Marienbad, and Trieste. Barnard’s travels are also journeys in time.

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Door God bij Europa verwekt

(Atlas, 1997, 206 pagina's)

This book is a portrait of Belgium based on a number of journeys Barnard made in recent years, as well as a self-portrait, owing to the author’s deep involvement with his adopted country. In dazzling style, he advocates the tolerant muddle which is the characteristic feature of his new fatherland. By talking to the people he encounters at monuments, tombstones or memorials, in bars or in hotels, he reveals a people and their history. The encounters show that Barnard’s probing questions and Dutch accent prevent him from ever merging fully with his surroundings.

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