Terug tot de werkelijkheid? | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 20, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1384-5829
  • E-ISSN: 2352-118X



In contemporary Dutch literary production, the ‘world outside’ has gained ground. The genre of literary non-fiction has conquered a less marginal place in the literary field, but (fictional) novels, too, are characterized by a higher prevalence of factual discourse. In this article, I address how a conceptual framework of documentary literature can elucidate the literary innovations in (2011) by A.H.J. Dautzenberg, (2012) by Koen Peeters and (2013) by Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer. Before analysing these works, I provide a definition of ‘documentary literature’ and explore how it has been conceptualized in literary studies. In order to foreground the novelty in these current representatives, I will also look at the ways in which the phenomenon has emerged throughout Dutch literature in the 20th century. A rhetorical approach is taken to examine which methods are deemed most convincing to achieve a reality effect in literature by the authors under scrutiny. It appears that present-day novels combine reportage and the interview with an autofictional narrator. As opposed to the documentary anti-literature that was typical of the Nieuwe Zakelijkheid and the sixties, a strong blending of documentary signals and improbable elements informs the reading of these texts. Furthermore, blatant subjectivity and self-reflexivity are used as rhetorical devices to consciously construct a reality that is shown to be relevant on a level that exceeds the merely personal.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): autofiction; documentary literature; literary non-fiction; reportage
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