The Congo in Flemish Literature

An Anthology of Flemish Prose on the Congo, 1870s - 1990s

Edited by Luc Renders and Jeroen Dewulf and translated by Grady Tarplee and L. Dulac

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First-ever anthology of Flemish Congo prose

This book presents the first anthology of Flemish prose on the Congo, the former colony of Belgium, in English translation. Because of the Dutch language barrier, Flemish literature on the Congo has traditionally remained inaccessible to and thus neglected by international scholarship, as opposed to French or English prose on this part of the African continent. That this particular perspective has thus far remained underexposed, or even disregarded, is all the more regrettable in light of the fact that the vast majority of Belgians who went to work in the African colony came from Flanders. The Congo in Flemish Literature now represents a key step towards filling this lacuna by providing an overview of the different societal attitudes towards the colonial undertaking prevailing in Belgium during and after the colonial era, the way the relationship between Belgium and the Congo changed over time, subject to the zeitgeist and sociopolitical and economic developments, and the individual authors' varying points of view with regard to the colonisation. Flemish Congo prose offers a fascinating glimpse into Belgium’s colonial past and legacy, primarily during the colonial era, but also at the time of its violent aftermath following Congolese independence on 30 June 1960, and well into the following decades.
1. Flemish Literature 
2. The Colonial Era 
3. The Postcolonial Period 
4. Conclusion 

Aldemar-Camille van der Cruyssen 
A Peaceful Crusade

Cyriel Buysse 
White Depravity

Pieter Danco 
A Mini-Europe in the Tropics

Pieter de Mey 
A Giant Step for Civilization

Constant De Deken 
A Missionary with a Cause

Henri van Booven
No Place for Europeans

Henri Bossaerts 
White Injustice

Leo Bittremieux
Light in the Darkness

Ernest Tilemans 
True Interracial Love

René Poortmans 
Under the Leaden Sun

Jean Gustave Schoup 
A Tragic Fate

Adolf Verreet
Paternalistic Benevolence

Bert Nacht 
No Place like Home

Alfons Walschap
Inner Conflict

Gerard Walschap
A Humane Approach to Colonization

Jac. Bergeyck
From a Congolese Perspective

Piet van Aken
Cynical Power Struggles

Jan van den Weghe
A Plea for Cooperation

Robrecht De Sadeleer 
The Disillusionment of the Colonial

Daisy Ver Boven 
Friendship between Black and White

Jef Geeraerts 
Paradise Lost

Paul Brondeel 
The Agony of a Nobody

Lieve Joris 
In Search of the Real Congo

Marcus Leroy
Political Games

List of References

Format: Edited volume - paperback

Size: 234 × 156 × 11 mm

192 pages

ISBN: 9789462702172

Publication: June 18, 2020

Languages: English

Stock item number: 135566

Jeroen Dewulf is Queen Beatrix professor in Dutch Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.
Luc Renders is professor emeritus of Hasselt University.
Cependant, Luc Renders et Jeroen Dewulf évitent soigneusement de conférer à cette littérature une cohérence trop factice. Prenant appui sur vingt-quatre extraits et autant d’auteurs qu’ils présentent à chaque fois succinctement, ils témoignent de la diversité des regards portés par ces derniers sur le Congo tout au long du XXe siècle. Loin de donner à voir un aspect uniforme de ces textes, ils nous invitent à les saisir dans leur spéci-ficité, préférant, ce faisant, nous donner accès à des publications jusque-là jamais traduites en anglais, voire en français. Car, et il s’agit là du principal apport de cette anthologie, la vingtaine de traductions qu’ils ren-dent enfin disponibles comptent parmi elles des textes oubliés, sinon inac-cessibles pour des locuteurs non néerlandophones. Dès lors, cette antho-logie est une contribution précieuse aux recherches sur les littératures africaines et elle laisse espérer de plus amples développements critiques sur ce sujet.
Pierre BOIZETTE, Études Littéraires Africaines, n°51 (2021)

That this anthology raises as many questions as it answers is a compliment. Renders and Dewulf have not merely provided Dutch-language texts on the Congo in one place in English, they also have assembled an anthology that unveils much about the nature of Belgium’s colonial experience and how it reverberated in the metropole, all while raising questions as to what this literature means.
Matthew G. Stanard, Can. J. of Netherlandic Studies/Rev. can. d’études néerlandaises 41.1 (2021): 67-71