It Jubeljier: iensumens is de priis fan it talint


  • E.J. Brouwer


The title of this essay, “Loneliness is the price of talent”, is a quote from
Simke Kloosterman’s 1927 historical novel It Jubeljier (The Jubilee Year)
which qualifies the course of life of one of its protagonists, Ryklef Ripperda.
In this essay it refers to the author’s position in the literary domain. It
should, however, not be read as a statement about the singular gifts and
talents of the writer and her possible misrecognition in the Frisian literary
field. On the contrary, Simke Kloosterman has the status of a canonical
writer and poet. Two of her novels have been published in the series Fryske
Klassiken (Frisian Classics); in the last seventy odd years It Jubeljier was
reprinted several times. Moreover, all the publications of the novel received
attention from the most influential literary critics of the time. An overview of
the most important reviews is presented here. Strikingly the novel was never
really praised as a straightforward masterpiece. Critics find fault with the
novel’s lack of cohesion and its conservative tendency, and with that, its
historiographical bias. However, at the same time they praise its vivid detail
and lyrical evocation of the countryside. The loneliness then resides
somewhere else: the article suggests that Kloosterman’s narrative style is
the real pièce-de-résistance; for herself as well as for her readers. It is
argued that the novel shows all the signs of a transition from two types of
narration, viz. from the telling mode to the reflector mode. Kloosterman’s
modernity, in spite of herself, has been neglected – not her talent.