Paul van Ostaijen en het primitivisme

Nico Laan


Though Paul van Ostaijen has always been put within the context of the historical avant-garde, his relationship to primitivism has never been the subject of study. That is strange, for primitivism is commonly seen as one of the defining characteristics of the avant-garde. Even stranger is that Hadermann denies that Van Ostaijen has ever shown the slightest interest in primitivism. From closer inspection we learn that in all the three periods in which the life and works of Van Ostaijen have been subdivided, primitivism played a role. This role increases in importance in the course of the years and at the end even seems to have become decisive. Van Ostaijen never explicitly remarks on this continuity. We do not know why. This leads to some skeptical remarks on the possibility to make verifiable statements on strategic considerations of writers.

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