De donkere kamer van Damokles go inside Ebook Wat is een held Iemand die straffeloos onvoorzichtig is geweest Willem Frederik Hermans De donkere kamer van Damokles Can you read the above q
De donkere kamer van Damokles go inside Ebook “Wat is een held? Iemand die straffeloos onvoorzichtig is geweest.”― Willem Frederik Hermans, De donkere kamer van Damokles Can you read the above quote? Most people can't since it is written in Dutch. One big reason William Fredrick Hermans (1921-1925) isn't a well know as other authors of his generation, say, Heinrich Böll, William Trevor or Alain Robbe-Grillet. Willem Frederik Hermans's novel of intrigue and espionage is told not in first person narrative but has the quality of first person narrative since the story follows one Henri Osewoudt so closely the reader looks over Osewoudt's shoulder throughout the entire novel. Occasionally the narrator conveys Osewoudt's thoughts and feeling, but it's the fast-paced action driving the story told in short unnumbered chapters, short chapters fueling a keen sense of urgency as the story unfolds in twists and turns. Hermans employs simple linear progression with no flash-backs or other time shifts - events happen as Osewoudt experiences them, starting when, after his mad mother murders his father, Osewoudt, a boy of thirteen, is sent to Amsterdam to live with his aunt and uncle and nineteen year old cousin.About five years pass and Osewoudt marries his cousin, moves back to his father's tobacco shop and is pressed into becoming an active member of the Dutch underground fighting against the Nazis in 1939. Osewouldt is the opposite of a Hollywood-style handsome hero; the author describes him as follows: "A diminutive freak, a toad reared upright. His nose was more of a button than a nose. And his eyes, even when not focusing, seemed forever narrowed, as if he could only leer, not look normally. His mouth recalled the kind of orifice through which the lowest forms of life ingest their food, not a mouth that could laugh or talk." Perhaps the author wants us to experience, reflect, and consider events happening in Nazi occupied Netherlands with a cool objective clarity rather than rooting for an attractive main character.A man named Dorbeck recruits Osewoudt into the Dutch underground. Dorbeck has a military background and gives orders as the person squarely in charge. Turns out, Dorbeck is the same height and build as Osewoudt, and, other than the black hair and a beard to shave, looks exactly like Osewouldt. Durbeck becomes the center of Osewoudt's life and identify, in a very real sense Dorbeck is Osewoudt's double, his Doppelgänger.After years in the underground, Osewoudt tells his girlfriend, "But I can only obey Dorbeck, and no one forced me. . . . I had no skills, no ambition. It wasn't until I met Dorbeck that I felt I wanted something, if only to be like Dorbeck, if only to want the same things as he did. And wanting the same thing as someone else is a step up from not wanting anything." As the story progresses we come to see just how tight the grip Dorbeck has on Osewoudt.Other than Dorbeck, his leader and contact (and also his idol), Osewoudt moves in a spy versus spy world where nothing is certain and there isn't a person alive who can be trusted completely: identities and names continually shift and change, indeed, Osewoudt changes names on more than one occasion and at one point dyes his fair hair black and at another point wears the uniform of a nurse.. One meaning of the book's title, The Darkroom of Damocles, can be taken as the state of an entire country under foreign military occupation: at any moment, the Damoclean sword held by a thread hanging over one's head can drop and one can find oneself interrogated under a spotlight, taken away to prison, or standing in front of a firing squad.Toward the end of the novel when held prisoner by the Dutch authorities and exasperated in his attempt to prove his innocence, Osewoudt says, "Everything I've ever done is slipping through my fingers! The people I worked with during the war are all either dead or missing, and even the streets I used to know no longer exist. It's beyond belief. I feel I'm in a different world, where no one will believe me. What am I to do? How in God's name can I ever justify myself at this rate." What a quagmire - trying to explain and justify and prove events happening within the world of war retrospectively in a time of peace.. De donkere kamer van Damokles vertelt het verhaal van Henri Osewoudt, sigarenhandelaar te Voorschoten Tijdens de Tweede Wereldoorlog ontmoet hij de verzetsman Dorbeck, die sprekend op hem lijkt op n ding na, dat hij zwart haar heeft terwijl Osewoudt blond is, en die hem opdrachten geeft die hij gewillig uitvoert.Na de bezetting lijkt alles zich tegen hem te keren en worDe donkere kamer van Damokles vertelt het verhaal van Henri Osewoudt, sigarenhandelaar te Voorschoten Tijdens de Tweede Wereldoorlog ontmoet hij de verzetsman Dorbeck, die sprekend op hem lijkt op n ding na, dat hij zwart haar heeft terwijl Osewoudt blond is, en die hem opdrachten geeft die hij gewillig uitvoert.Na de bezetting lijkt alles zich tegen hem te keren en wordt hij gekwalificeerd als fantast en landverrader Hij tracht wanhopig het tegendeel te bewijzen.. The best Books De donkere kamer van Damokles Surface All the Way ThroughAfter reading the first 20 pages or so of Hermans's Darkroom of Damocles, I began to suspect a problem with the English translation. The text is spare to the point of aridity with hardly any description of people or places. Similarly, there is no psychological commentary; motives, reflections, emotions are unstated. Dialogue is presented more like a punching match than a conversation. Sentences are terse; paragraphs are short. Transitions are unexpected and somewhat discontinuous, as if in response to interview questions which have been omitted. The cadence of the writing is unremitting: this happened; then this happened; then this happened - with sometimes disconcerting non-sequiturs. No digressions, no speculation, no deviation from the determined trajectory of the story. The book often reads in English almost like one written by an aspiring teen-ager, or a policeman in his notebook, rather than an experienced author.But Ina Rilke is one the most experienced and honoured translators of Dutch literature. To the extent any translation can express the core of the original, Rilke's can't be improved upon. In the colophon the mystery is solved. Although published in English in 2007, the book was originally published in Dutch a half-century earlier. Darkroom, in other words, is an example of a very specific, very Dutch mid-twentieth century genre of somewhat advanced, even experimental, popular literature. As far as I am aware, nothing like it exists in contemporary English-language literature. I don't know if this genre has a name inside or outside The Netherlands, but it is certainly a type with a particular character and sophistication. And a type of which Hermans's Darkroom provides a leading example.The effect of Hermans's style is one of an abrupt but comprehensible dream-like movement from scene to scene. The writing is clearly meant to jolt, to cause an eddy in the flow of the reader's concentration. Hermans supplies little backstory or historical context. He keeps the reader in precisely the same position of ignorance as that of the young protagonist who is never adequately informed of the circumstances of his father's death or his mother's involvement in it. The repetitions appear like practice re-tellings to get the story down pat. What parts of this tale are true? What is being left out? It is as if he is insisting to the reader, "This is the situation, you don't need to know more now, deal with it." On the other hand Holland, arguably the primary subject, is portrayed insistently as a 'twee' country. There is a certain intimacy adopted immediately between Dutch characters. There is no need to explain things because "we all know the score." Coincidence is almost a rule of this compulsive intimacy. The action shifts from city to city in Holland as if they were part of the same local neighbourhood. People keep running into each other, or their friends or acquaintances. Delivering a basket of cherries from a greengrocer in Amsterdam to a prison in The Hague is apparently no trouble at all. Zipping down to to Utrecht or out to Lunteren, or up from Leiden on the spur of the moment in the middle of the war is a snap. Complex messages are breathlessly communicated to virtual strangers with an expectation of complete discretion and immediate compliance. There are occasional German-sympathisers but they are easily identified deftly ostracised. Surprisingly, this all works quite well once the stance and rhythm of the piece is accepted. The story then becomes quite irresistible.Perhaps the best way to characterise Hermans's rather cinematic technique is that it shares much with several films by Alfred Hitchcock, North by Northwest in particular. There is a nostalgic realism of place as in Hitchcock: the blue intercity trams, disappearing as Hermans wrote; references to places like the Ypenberg airfield, now lying under the junction of the A4 and A12 highways; the still extant 19th century burgelijke houses on the canals in Leiden as well as one or two somewhat louche but long-standing hotels in Amsterdam. The protagonist (and therefore the reader) lurches from confusion to confusion; the situation is muddled; nothing he does yields clarification but only enmeshes him more deeply in a greater mystery. The constant theme of his (and his country's) situation is ambiguity. Is he a dupe, a fool, a patriotic hero, a Walter Mitty wannabe? Hermans, like Hitchcock, isn't telling without some work by the reader. The growing suspense isn't about who-done-it? but what-does-this-all-mean? And fortunately, also like Hitchcock, Hermans ultimately delivers.
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