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Amsterdam Stories (New York Review Books)

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Amsterdam Stories (New York Review Books) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

J. H. F. Grönloh was a successful Dutch businessman, executive

of the Holland-Bombay Trading Company and father of

four, with a secret life: under the pseudonym Nescio (Latin for

“I don’t know”), he wrote a series of short stories that went

unrecognized at the time but that are now widely considered

the best prose ever written in Dutch.

Nescio’s stories look back on the enthusiasms of youth with

an achingly beautiful melancholy comparable to the work of

Alain-Fournier and F. Scott Fitzgerald. He writes of young

dreams from the perspective of adult resignation, but reinhabits

youthful ambition and adventure so fully that the later

perspective is the one thrown into doubt—and with language

as fresh as when it was written a century ago. His last long

story, written and set during World War II, is a remarkable

evocation of the Netherlands in wartime and a hymn to our

capacity to take refuge in memory and imagination.

This is great literature—capturing the Dutch landscape and

scenes of Amsterdam with a remarkable poetry, and expressing

the spirit of the country of businessmen and van Gogh,

merchants and visionaries. This first translation of Nescio into

English—all the major works and a broad selection of his

shorter stories—is a literary event.

Review:

"It's little wonder that J.H.F. Grönlöh (1882 — 1961) wrote these biting and perceptive stories under the pseudonym Nescio (Latin for 'I don't know'). In most of them a sensitive artist mocks businessmen who slave away in offices and fail to contemplate the beautiful natural world. Grönlöh himself was an executive of a trading company in Amsterdam, apparently the very embodiment of the middle-class rectitude his characters despise. In this first English translation of his work, impoverished artists and writers seek to escape stifling bourgeois culture. Looking back with nostalgia at the idealism of their youth, these young men are generally regarded by Nescio with a bemused sympathy that can acquire a mocking edge. He trades wit for sensuousness, however, when his characters contemplate the inspiring Dutch landscape. In the best offering, 'Little Poet,' the God of the Netherlands is a befuddled old man in a 'shabby coat dandruff on his collar.' He is the custodian of business, propriety, and smug respectability, and he and the devil both observe a man realize his desire to 'be a great poet, and to fall' from grace. Five of the collected stories, many published in Holland in 1918, are considered Nescio's major work; the remaining four are inchoate fragments. While his distinctive voice is absorbing, readers who are not familiar with Amsterdam may find the mention of streets, rivers, neighborhoods, canals, and dikes confusing. Yet this is a valuable introduction to a significant Dutch writer." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

No one has written more feelingly and more beautifully than Nescio about the madness and sadness, courage and vulnerability of youth: its big plans and vague longings, not to mention the binges, crashes, and marathon walks and talks. No one, for that matter, has written with such pristine clarity about the radiating canals of Amsterdam and the cloud-swept landscape of the Netherlands.

Who was Nescio? Nescio—Latin for “I don’t know”—was the pen name of J.H.F. Grönloh, the highly successful director of the Holland–Bombay Trading Company and a father of four—someone who knew more than enough about respectable maturity. Only in his spare time and under the cover of a pseudonym, as if commemorating a lost self, did he let himself go, producing over the course of his lifetime a handful of utterly original stories that contain some of the most luminous pages in modern literature.

This is the first English translation of Nescio’s stories.

About the Author

Nescio (1882–1961) was the pseudonym of Jan Hendrik Frederik

Grönloh. His reputation as one of most important modern

Dutch writers was only established after his death.

Damion Searls is the author of What We Were Doing and Where

We Were Going and an award-winning translator. NYRB Classics

has published his abridged edition of Henry David Thoreau’s

Journal and will publish his translation of André Gide’s

Marshlands.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781590174920
Author:
Nescio
Publisher:
New York Review of Books
Author:
Searls, Damion
Author:
O'Neill, Joseph
Subject:
Stories (single author)
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20120331
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
176
Dimensions:
7.9 x 5.01 x 0.39 in 0.4 lb

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Cultural Heritage
History and Social Science » Military » General History
History and Social Science » Politics » International Studies

Amsterdam Stories (New York Review Books) Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.95 In Stock
Product details 176 pages New York Review of Books - English 9781590174920 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "It's little wonder that J.H.F. Grönlöh (1882 — 1961) wrote these biting and perceptive stories under the pseudonym Nescio (Latin for 'I don't know'). In most of them a sensitive artist mocks businessmen who slave away in offices and fail to contemplate the beautiful natural world. Grönlöh himself was an executive of a trading company in Amsterdam, apparently the very embodiment of the middle-class rectitude his characters despise. In this first English translation of his work, impoverished artists and writers seek to escape stifling bourgeois culture. Looking back with nostalgia at the idealism of their youth, these young men are generally regarded by Nescio with a bemused sympathy that can acquire a mocking edge. He trades wit for sensuousness, however, when his characters contemplate the inspiring Dutch landscape. In the best offering, 'Little Poet,' the God of the Netherlands is a befuddled old man in a 'shabby coat dandruff on his collar.' He is the custodian of business, propriety, and smug respectability, and he and the devil both observe a man realize his desire to 'be a great poet, and to fall' from grace. Five of the collected stories, many published in Holland in 1918, are considered Nescio's major work; the remaining four are inchoate fragments. While his distinctive voice is absorbing, readers who are not familiar with Amsterdam may find the mention of streets, rivers, neighborhoods, canals, and dikes confusing. Yet this is a valuable introduction to a significant Dutch writer." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by , No one has written more feelingly and more beautifully than Nescio about the madness and sadness, courage and vulnerability of youth: its big plans and vague longings, not to mention the binges, crashes, and marathon walks and talks. No one, for that matter, has written with such pristine clarity about the radiating canals of Amsterdam and the cloud-swept landscape of the Netherlands.

Who was Nescio? Nescio—Latin for “I don’t know”—was the pen name of J.H.F. Grönloh, the highly successful director of the Holland–Bombay Trading Company and a father of four—someone who knew more than enough about respectable maturity. Only in his spare time and under the cover of a pseudonym, as if commemorating a lost self, did he let himself go, producing over the course of his lifetime a handful of utterly original stories that contain some of the most luminous pages in modern literature.

This is the first English translation of Nescio’s stories.

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