Bedrieglijk betoog - Auteursintentie en interpretatie van Hermans’ ‘Preambule’ | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 19, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1384-5829
  • E-ISSN: 2352-118X


Willem Frederik Hermans’s second collection of short stories, (1953), opens with a short prose piece entitled ‘Preambule’ that for decades has been regarded as an introductory essay to the book. The italicized sentence ‘’ has often been understood as summary of the author’s own epistemological views. However, Hermans himself always insisted that ‘Preambule’ was a story; but the author’s claim has had little impact on its reception. This essay first brings together various explicit or implicit authorial indicators of the genre of ‘Preambule’, ranging from its typographical presentation to explanations in interviews. Second, against the background of the fundamental pattern underlying Hermans’s creative work as established in Hermans scholarship, I attempt to provide a coherent interpretation of the piece as a story, with an argument centered on but not limited to a comparison of the protagonist’s philosophy of language with his own practice. I argue that the narrator turns out to be a self-caricature rather than a genuine self-portrait. The essay concludes by assessing how the story fits into the group of stories that make up the collection, and whether there is any significant order involved.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): auteursintentie; genre; Hermans
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