Het buitenland als referentiekader. De casus van het literaire expressionisme in Vlaanderen

Pieter Verstraeten


Abstract – The present article explores the ways in which traditional histories of Flemish literature have taken into account the international cultural context. Although since the 1980s literary historiography shows an ever increasing interest in exogenous influences as structural forces in the dynamics of a ‘national’ literature, there remain some theoretical and practical issues to be solved, concerning, for instance, the selection of relevant material and the status of the so-called ‘exemplary case’. These issues are addressed in a case study dealing with the international context of Flemish literary expressionism. It is argued that in order to accurately describe this context, one should in the first place pay attention to the perspectives inherent in the Flemish literary system itself, because they limit and structure its ‘outside’ from the very outset. A small-scale investigation into the nature of the ubiquitous references to foreign literatures reveals that a limited set of central themes in the post-WWI literary discourse (such as the renouveau catholique and the relation with the visual arts) to a great extent predetermines the selection and interpretation of foreign literatures, authors and works.

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© Tijdschrift voor Nederlandse Taal- en Letterkunde | ISSN (print): 0040-7550 | eISSN (online): 2212-0521