J. Slauerhoff

Het verboden rijk

A yearning for the unreachable

In The Forbidden Realm, J. Slauerhoff draws on existing stories, mainly from the nineteenth century, about Luis Camões, a sixteenth-century Portuguese poet and seaman who wrote the famous epic Os Lusíados in Macao in the late 1550s. Slauerhoff’s version is set in the twentieth century, with a ship’s radio operator as the main character. After a series of mishaps the radio operator lands at Macao. There he experiences some kind of hallucination that makes him identify with the Portuguese poet who lived three centuries earlier.

Rather than taking a romantic excursion into the past, Slauerhoff brings history into the present. The two travellers meet. Towards the end of the novel, Slauerhoff’s radio operator abandons his intention of breaking loose from the earth, of mortifying himself, and hopes instead that he will eventually succeed in accepting the life he has – something his creator never achieved: Slauerhoff had no home but his poetry, stories and novels.

The novel also reads like a fascinating travelogue, with its vivid descriptions of China and the Portuguese colony of Macao, and its account of an imaginary journey linking characters across several centuries.

His personal involvement and his unique style – sometimes clipped and ironic, at other times lyrical and visionary – give his books a place of their own in the history of the novel.

R.P. Meijer, Literature Of The Low Countries

Of the pre-war generation of writers, Slauerhoff’s imagination was not only the most vivid, it was also one which baulked at nothing.

Willem Frederik Hermans, NRC Handelsblad

In his prose he is great and irresistible.

Bert Schierbeek, De Groene Amsterdammer


J. Slauerhoff

J. Slauerhoff (1898-1936) schreef behalve gedichten ook verhalen, romans en een toneelstuk. Daarnaast publiceerde hij reisreportages en kritieken. Er verschenen tijdens zijn korte leven tien bundels van zijn hand. De laatste, Een eerlijk zeemansgraf, verscheen kort voor zijn dood na een lang…

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Het verboden rijk (1932). Fictie, 150 pagina's.

Thema's: reizen klassiek


Panorama Holland 2


Nijgh & Van Ditmar

Weteringschans 259
NL - 1017 XJ Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Tel: +31 20 760 72 10

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