Meartaligens en autonomisearring fan de Fryske literatuer om 1900 hinne


  • G. Jensma


The decades shortly after 1900 were pivotal in the development of an (more or less) autonomous Frisian literary field. Frisian literature increasingly detached itself from the Dutch literary field, a development which literary historians generally attribute to the efforts of the young Frisian writer Douwe Kalma (1896-1953) and the members of his Young Frisian Commu­nity (Jong-Fryske Mienskip) (1915). Mostly due to his own avant-garde rhetoric, Kalma’s role has been exaggerated largely. In this article his success is put into perspective by mapping the most salient changes in the practice of writing Frisian literature in the period. The transition from a largely pseudo-oral, popular, and colloquial literature to a more intricate, personalized, highbrow literature was facilitated by broader societal devel­op­ments, like the growth of the participation of the middle classes in civil society and public life, the rise of average educational levels and the sub­se­quent growth of literacy not only in Dutch but also in Frisian. Juxtaposing Kalma with one of his contemporaries, i.e. the poet Johan Bernard Schepers (1857-1935), shows how Kalma, although undoubtedly the most radically Frisian oriented author of the two, certainly was not the only, nor the first representative of this new literary discourse.