‘Turf is nu eenmaal een vruchtbaar terrein voor de fantasie’ | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 5, Issue 3/4
  • ISSN: 2588-8277
  • E-ISSN: 2667-162X



Novels about peat lands and turf-cutting were immensely popular in the Netherlands during the first decades of the twentieth century. This article traces recurring narratives and tropes in four such novels written by H.H.J.Maas, Antoon Coolen, Anne de Vries, and Theun de Vries, illustrating the ambivalent role that peat lands play in these texts. They function as sites of communality, future opportunity, and disorder on the one hand, and as places of exploitation and alienation on the other. These four novels do not downright reject the introduction of industrial innovations, but some among them are critical of the class divisions that may result. Others seem to acknowledge the hard labour that turf production involves, but do not criticize the social status of the peat-cutters.


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