Simon Vestdijk (1898-1971) is regarded as one of the greatest Dutch writers of the twentieth century. He attended medical school but in 1932 he gave up medicine in favour of literature, going on to produce no fewer than 52 novels, as well as poetry, essays on music and literature, and several works on philosophy. He is remembered mainly for his psychological, autobiographical and historical novels, a number of which – Terug tot Ina Damman (Back to Ina Damman, 1934), De koperen tuin (The Garden where the Brass Band Played, 1950) and Ivoren wachters (Ivory Watchmen, 1951) – may be counted among the best works of Dutch literature. Vestdijk admitted to having been influenced by such illustrious European writers as Proust, Joyce and Mann. Much of his work reveals a desire both to mythologise the banality of everyday life, and to reduce the mythology of great events to the banal.