Anybody speak Dutch?

If you do and you’ll be in the Low Countries, there is a wealth of Dalrymplian entertainment awaiting. His fame continues to grow there, so that per capita he may be more well-known there than anywhere else. He has attributed his popularity in Holland to the assassinations of Pim Fortuyn and Theo Van Gogh, which opened the eyes of its intellectuals to many of the issues that he has explored. If my personal experience is representative, it could also be true that his criticism of his countrymen has struck a chord among citizens of Amsterdam who’ve grown tired of the sight and sound of English yobs marauding through the alleys on their way to the Red Light District.

Whatever the reason, he has a lot going on there. Later today, he will give a public speech or interview or some such at Rechtenfaculteit Leiden, which could very well be the Leiden University School of Law. Details are here. (Nice webpage, by the way, especially that bit on the bottom.) The speech might very well (can you tell I don’t speak Dutch?) have something to do with a new Dutch-language book called Profeten en Charlatans (Prophets and Charlatans, maybe?) published this month by Niuew Amsterdam, who has published all of his previous books in Holland. It appears to be focused on his literary criticism, but we will get more details soon.

Perhaps most exciting though, his 1995 book So Little Done has been turned into a one-man play. Sharing the name of the Dutch version of the book, De Filantroop (or The Philanthropist), it stars veteran Dutch actor Genio de Groot, who collaborated with Dalrymple in adapting it for the stage. How can a Dalrymple work be turned into a play, you ask? Well, remember: So Little Done is a fictional work (his one and only) subtitled “The Testament of a Serial Killer” and written in the first person. I re-read the first few pages, and it almost cries out for a one-man theatrical treatment. The play has been in previews for the last few weeks and officially opens… tonight! It will tour around the Netherlands through December. The schedule is here. For a lengthy interview of Dalrymple discussing the book in Holland, go here.

9 thoughts on “Anybody speak Dutch?

  1. kate

    “his criticism of his countrymen”

    He’s good at that, excells at it. Makes a living of it….sad really.

    “Land of Hope and Glory, Mother of the Free,
    How shall we extol thee, who are born of thee?”

    He’s a national treasure for sure. Now if he were American would he be so well admired?

  2. Tayles

    He is well known within certain American circles, although I don’t imagine he’d win much favour with Democrats. He doesn’t, for instance, believe that some big-hearted political or intellectual elite can resolve every human dissatisfation.

  3. Peter

    “kate wrote:
    “his criticism of his countrymen”

    He’s good at that, excells [sic] at it. Makes a living of it….sad really.”

    No, what is sad is your failure of fact. Dalrymple made his living as doctor of medicine, not from his writing and is now retired. He always choose to write, he never needed to.

  4. Kate

    Does he write for free? Does it bring him in money? How do you know he doesn’t or never needed to write? Are you his accountant?

    Actually, I used to like his writings until I came to this site and seen how others enjoy his bashing of the brits, must be great to have a laugh at Britains’ under class before going to your tv and watching Jerry Springer…

    That he has turned his attention toward the French is no surprise, he has lived among them, once he takes up residence it appears, he writes very unpleasantly of those among whom he dwells…..or works. He doesn’t have much good to say about anybody, or any nation.

    I don’t think I’ll be reading any more of him, or here.

  5. Steve is an Utter Codpiece

    attributed his popularity in Holland

    Tsk, tsk. I presume A-meri-cans are aware of the difference between Holland and the Netherlands?

    citizens of Amsterdam who’ve grown tired of the sight and sound of English yobs

    Oh, so you’re discriminatory as well as being a writer of fiction, then? Why English? English is a ‘language’ [hint] and a nationality, but, unsurprisingly, English is not the same as British…so why just English yobs? What about the Scots, Welsh and Ulstermen? I trust you do know the difference between England and Great Britain? By asserting that English yobs are largely responsible for anti-social behaviour in the touristy parts of Amsterdam, you reveal inadvertently that you’ve never been and obviously don’t know the first thing about the feral Moroccan and Turkish ‘yoof’ that infest the streets of Amsterdam.

    marauding through the alleys on their way to the Red Light District.

    …shouldn’t that be ‘through the alleys of the Red Light District’ as the first part of the RLD you encounter from the train station [i.e. anyone who travels to Amsterdam] are ‘alleys’.

    Do you always make this much up as you go along? I enjoy coming here occasionally to pick up Dalrymple’s articles, but this will be my last visit as I tend not to frequent the abodes of thick as dodo custard, lying cockweasels such as yourself. Here’s hoping your brain farts tonight in your sleep you colossal prick!

  6. Tayles

    Kate, I think the point that Dalrymple makes over and over is that those who imagine themselves to be most concerned about the plight of their countrymen, and the least advantaged of them in particular, are actually responsible for exacerbating their plight.

    Most of his writings say that it is the well-intentioned but ultimately self-serving compassion of Western liberals that imprisons people in a state of intellectual, cultural and spiritual poverty. Their determination to release people from responsiblity for the welfare, their mistakes and the consequences of their actions – ostensibly in an effort to protect them from the slings and arrows of an unjust society – that is responsible for their degradation.

    It does no one any favours to pretend that the way they live their lives is fine if it is not. By wrapping people up in cotton wool, flattering them with relativism and egalitarianism, giving them unearned income and discouraging them from making their own way in life, we destroy people’s prospects and their self-respect.

    Frankly, to always look for the best in people is the recourse of those who are more concerned about their purity of thought than about tackling tangible problems with practical solutions. If you are serious about freeing people to improve their lives you must start from a position of honest reflection. The refusal of modern liberals to accept that you must sometimes be cruel to be kind is the rotten core of our society.

  7. Steve

    I do know the difference between Holland and the Netherlands and between Britain and England. While I know Dalrymple is famous in Holland (listen to the first 4 seconds of this — oh no, he says “England” as well!), I am not sure about the Netherlands as a whole. It was precisely to make such a distinction that I used the term Holland.

    I never said that all anti-social behavior in Amsterdam is on the part of the British, nor do I believe that all British people act anti-socially. But surely if a significant number of them do, one can hardly avoid drawing conclusions from that fact. If this is discriminatory, so be it. I suppose it’s acceptable to discriminate against Moroccans and Turks but not against the British?

  8. Dan Collins

    Perhaps I can help you here, Kate (I’m his UK publisher). He doesn’t write ‘for free’, no, but I can assure you that he doesn’t do it for the money, either. I think he would be happy to write for expenses if we didn’t insist on paying him (and we’d be happy to give away his books if we didn’t have mortgages to pay).
    You say you stopped enjoying his writing after seeing that others enjoyed it. That is a strange and slightly illogical position to adopt, surely?
    I would disagree that he has ‘turned his attention toward the French’, particularly (he is married to a Frenchwoman); he is just observing that they are slightly higher up the slippery slope which we in Britain dived headlong down some time ago.
    It is not true to say that he ‘doesn’t have much good to say about anybody, or any nation’, but it is true to say that he focuses on the bad; but then, anyone who has spent any time at all in modern England, particularly in our cities and towns, is forced to confront the bad, often violently.
    Finally, he’s not laughing at the underclass, though his writing does contain humour; he is mourning our disappearing national character and fighting against its total loss.


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