The ‘Boekenweek’ theme ‘First love’ was amply covered during the first activity of this week at Mayflower Bookshop. Wim Tigges’ talk on his book ‘Hartstocht achter de horren’ (passion behind the screens) was interlaced with references to literal and figurative first loves. In his book and lecture on novels from The Hague around 1900 Tigges – naturally – first of all discussed Louis Couperus. Eline in ‘Eline Vere’ loves herself first, foremost and last. Marcellus Emants’ novel ‘Nagelaten bekentenis’ (Posthumous confession) was also discussed, as was Jeanne Reyneke van Stuwe, with her book ‘Hartstocht’ (passion), a word that was often heard this afternoon and, lastly, Tigges devoted ample attention to the novels of Cornélie Noordwal.
Tigges’ talk was illustrated by an entertaining dialogue from the novel ‘De Winkeljuffrouw’ (the shop assistant) by the aforementioned Noordwal. Tigges himself, together with Mayflower Bookshop’s Freek Bouricius, played the parts of Jan de Koster van Elk, a pedantic aspiring poet and philosopher and pharmacist’s daughter Nora Dutoit As expected, Bouricius turned the lecture into a sketch rather than a reading, convincingly and stylishly involving Tigges.
The lecture was followed by an interview, in which Bouricius skilfully asked Tigges some pressing questions about his book that had been left unanwered. Thus, the audience learned about the influence of foreign writers such as Tolstoy and Flaubert on Couperus and his contemporaries as well as on the difference between male and female heroines in fin de siecle Dutch literature. Tigges expressed his sadness on the current unavailability today at bookshops and publishers of the female authors he mentioned. The meeting ended with an appeal to (re)read, in the absence of Cornélie Noordwal and Jeanne Reyneke van Stuwe, Eline Vere or Een Nagelaten Bekentenis.
During the afterparty – first obtaining a signed copy of Hartstocht achter de horren – a lively discussion emerged between author and audience. A good start to the Boekenweek!

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