J.H.F. Grönloh (1882-1961), the writer who went by the pseudonym Nescio (Latin for I Don’t Know), as co-director of the Holland-Bombay Trading Company in Amsterdam, was not part of the literary world. When he died, only a few people knew that he had even written a book. For many years Nescio was a one-book author with only the collection of stories Dichtertje , De uitvreter, Titaantjes (1918) to his name. It wasn’t until the second edition came out fifteen years later that J.H.F. Grönloh decided to reveal himself as the author because his work was stubbornly being attributed to someone else. New editions followed, but Nescio, with his original style and unusual outspokenness, remained for years a writer’s writer. In 1961, just before his death, the collection Boven het dal, en andere verhalen (Above the Valley and Other Stories) appeared and his work once again attracted public attention. The long-expected Collected Works, published in two volumes in 1996, was received with enthusiasm by both the press and the public and has already gone through a number of editions. His work deserves to be given a place in the literature of Europe.

De uitvreter, Titaantjes, Dichtertje

(Nijgh & Van Ditmar, 1911, 159 pagina's)

The Sponger (De uitvreter) and Young Titans (Titaantjes) take place within a circle of young bohemians in the years leading up to the First World War. The Sponger is the story of Japi, a likeable bon vivant, who tries ‘to wither away, to become indifferent to hunger and sleep, to cold and damp,’ but who can also fully enjoy the good things of the world, especially if somebody else foots the bill.

Lees meer