The Biography of Alice Nahon
Dr. E.J.J. (Manu) van der Aa promoted on 27 October 2008 with a thesis entitled: ‘Ik heb de liefde liefgehad’. Het leven van Alice Nahon (I loved love itself. The life of Alice Nahon), Uitgeverij Lanno, Tielt 2008.
Promoters Prof. Dr. Hans Renders and Prof. Dr. Gillis Dorleijn.
Alice Nahon’s (1896-1933) poems are still cherished by many. Which Dutch or Flemish person does not know the verses ‘‘t is goed in’t eigen hert te kijken/Nog even voor het slapengaan’? But Alice Nahon was not the sweet and innocent poet that she has been made out to be. On the basis of research conducted over a number of years on Alice Nahon’s life and work, Manu van der Aa has written a definitive biography of the woman who wrote simple, melancholy poems, and whose work sold a quarter of a million volumes.
Manu van der Aa. Apart from Guido Gezelle, no other Flemish poet has sold more copies than Alice Nahon (1896-1933). Her poetry was received with enthusiasm by literary critics in Flanders and the Netherlands. Yet, her work was also dismissed as sentimental, doggerel verse, or ‘Gartenlaubepoëzie’, as Paul van Ostaijen coined it. In his biography, Manu van der Aa has paid close attention to her role within literary circles, her relation to Flemish nationalism and her unconventional attitude to sexuality and relationships, which was ahead of her time.
This research project, which was conducted at the Institute of Biography since 1 September 2006, was made possible by a subsidy from the Flemish and Dutch Literary Fund and the Amsterdam Fund for the Arts (AFK). Manu van der Aa has published a monograph entitled E. du Perron en de avant-garde: Kroniek van een heilzame ziekte (E. du Perron and the avant-garde: Chronicle of a wholesome disease) and edited Gerard Walschap. Kritisch werk 1922-1926 (Gerard Walschap. Critical works 1922-1926) (2006).
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