‘Zou de wereldbol een beetje aan het leeglopen zijn?’ Herman de Coninck over het Afrikaans en Afrikaner maatschappij, cultuur en politiek
In the institutional context of literature in Flanders Herman de Coninck (1944–97) was an important player (or “actor”). The author is well known as a poet, a literary critic and editor of the Dutch Granta-like magazine Nieuw Wereldtijdschrift (NWT). Academics and essayists have paid much critical attention to de Coninck’s poetics and aesthetic views. In a recent anthology of Flemish poetry since the sixties, Hotel New Flandres (2008), he is called an innovative “paradigmatic poet” in the poetry system of Flanders. Much less known is his place in and relationship to the field of Afrikaans literature. Daniel Hugo published two anthologies with poetry of de Coninck in Afrikaans and Antjie Krog was invited by the Flemish editor to participate in NWT. Later on, these essays were rewritten and brought together in Krog’s Country of My Skull. Reading prose and poetry by de Coninck and focusing on references to South Africa, we can study his perspective on Afrikaans (language and literature), his points of view on social and political developments in the post-apartheid era. The purpose of this article is to present documentary material to illustrate and comment on de Coninck’s ideas on literature, language and society. This commentary on ideological and aesthetic opinions can form the basis for further discursive and institutional research with regard to the presence in and the image building of South Africa in the works by a canonized Flemish writer.
Keywords: Flemish literature, Afrikaans literature, language and society, political and cultural discourse.
Article text in Dutch