"In het land der blonden is het zwarte schaap koningin" (postmodern sprekwurd). Resinte ûntjouwingen yn de literatuerkrityk


  • E.J. Brouwer


Recently two volumes of essays have been published which give a clear view
of the position of literary criticism in Friesland today. Literary criticism has
been stimulated in recent years by the two state funded literary foundations
assigned the task to stimulate literature in The Netherlands. The sphere of
activity of both funds comprises not only Dutch-language literature, but also
Frisian-language literature. The recently published volumes are discussed
here from the point of view of academic literary criticism and theory. In
Friesland the bounds between popular and academic literary criticism
cannot be so easily drawn. The literary audience in Friesland is not neatly
split up in specialized groups; there is a lack of specialists in the field to
allow for an autonomous development of the two; therefore there is an
unreflected va-et-vient between literary criticism, literary history and
literary theory. The present article sets itself the task to weigh the critical
essays published in Jabik Veenbaas’ De lêzer is in duvel (The reader is a
devil) and their reception within Frisian literary circles. One of the central
arguments of the essay is that postmodernism is a concept that should be
done away with in literary criticism, because it cannot be convincingly
disengaged from modernism. The implication of this formalist view for
Frisian literary historical studies is assessed and found lacking.