Spoken in de bibliotheek van Babel. Over de Borgesreceptie van Frans Kellendonk

Meike Botterweg


Abstract – Although the Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986) never wrote novels, his work has been frequently referred to as a model for renovation in international literary debates about the novel. In the Dutch literary debate of the eighties, Borges was among the examples of the authors gathered around the magazine De Revisor, who objected to realism and pleaded for self-reflective literature. In this article, I will analyse how Frans Kellendonk, in his novel Letter en geest: een spookverhaal (1982), reflected on the transcendence of language and literature by alluding to and elaborating on Borges’ short story ‘The Library of Babel’. I will show how both authors played a clever game with religious discourse and metafiction and how they aimed at similar effects – although Kellendonk seems to break with Borges’s persistent scepticism.


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