De poëtica van het toeval. Over Harry Mulisch, A.F.Th. van der Heijden en Leon de Winter

Jan Konst


De ontdekking van de hemel, Mim and VSV assign a prominent place to the subject of contingency. There are more correspondences between these three novels, not just in their formal elaboration, but more in terms of content too. Mulisch, Van der Heijden and De Winter choose in favour of overly full, complicated plots, they have a marked preference for ‘strong’ protagonists, and they use dramatic irony in a structural way. Characteristically, they fall back on a clearly delimitable repertoire of motifs, and a corpus of historical texts on the subject of meaning and meaninglessness provides an intertextual framework for the three novels. Also, these authors appear to present potential reaction patterns to unexpected events, and they all come back to the question as to whether human activity can really be free. Other telling elements are finally the metafictional dimensions which turn the author into a God-like creative personality, the problematization of the concept of fictionality and the undermining of a meaning-giving narrative developed in the novels. All of these parallels have a direct connection with the central topic of contingency and can be understood as the building blocks of a poetics of chance which manifests itself in De ontdekking van de hemel, Mim and VSV.

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