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Willem Elsschot
Antwerp 7 May 1882 - Antwerp 31 May 1960 • Belgian poet and novelist

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BOOKS BY WILLEM ELSSCHOT:

Villa des roses
1913

[Een ontgoocheling]
1921

[Tsjip] and [De leeuwentemmer]
1934

[De leeuwentemmer]
1940

Will o' the wisp
1946
Laarmans chases a fantasy through night-time Antwerp. (Published in English translation together with Ellschot's Soft Soap and The Leg)
[De verlossing]
1916



Cheese
1933
An ambitious clerk in 1930's Antwerp goes into the cheese business, with disastrous results (and he doesn't even like cheese).
ON WILLEM ELSSCHOT'S BOOKSHELF

[Een liefde]
Lodewijk van Deyssel, 1887
Psychology of a melancholy woman with a difficult love life.

The Deeps of Deliverance
Frederik van Eeden, 1900
A woman who gives up a life of affluence to be with an artist is increasingly plagued by psychoses.

Eline Vere
Louis Couperus, 1889
The demise of an extremely sensitive and overly refined young woman in the upper-class milieu of nineteenth-century The Hague.

The Book of the Small Souls
Louis Couperus, 1901
A penetrating analysis of the commercial and psychic unraveling of a prominent Amsterdam family.

Reynard the Fox
Anonymous, 1275
A clever satire of feudal society. The tale uses animals to represent the members of various classes.

[Dit zijn Vlaamsche vertelsels]
Anonymous, 1898

'La Comédie Humaine'
Honoré de Balzac, 1830-1850
Multi-volume collection of interlinked novels and stories (nearly 100!) depicting French society in the period of the Restoration and the July Monarchy 1815-1848.


[Ideën]
Multatuli, 1862-1877
7 volumes, containing essays, short stories, aphorisms, a play, and a novel of the author's childhood, Woutertje Pieterse.

Three Novels: Soft Soap, The Leg, Will-O’-the Wisp (Het dwaallicht)
1924 / 1938
Three first-person novellas, in which Elsschot features in the guise of the timid, respectable Frans Laarmans, with shifty businessman Boorman as his alter-ego.
WHAT TO READ AFTER SOFT SOAP AND THE LEG?

(FLEMISH) URBAN NOVELS
[De voorstad groeit]
Louis Paul Boon, 1942
Realistic panorama of a factory town in times of moderization.

[Het goddelijke monster]
Tom Lanoye, 1997
A burlesque parable of mythical and festering Flanders.

The Coming of Joachim Stiller
Hubert Lampo, 1960
A mysterious person, named Joachim Stiller, appears as a redeemer, under circumstances reminiscent of the death of Jesus.

REMINISCENT OF ELSSCHOT'S STYLE
[De uitvreter / Titaantjes / Dichtertje]
Nescio, 1911/ 1915/ 1918
Ironic sketches about failed idealists.

[De vergaderzaal]
A. Alberts, 1974
During a board meeting, an old man's thoughts continually wander.

[Dood weermiddel en andere verhalen]
F.B. Hotz, 2005 (heruitgave)

SWINDLERS
The Confidence Man
Herman Melville, 1857
Male, female, deft, fraudulent, constantly shifting: which of the "masquerade" of passengers on the Mississippi steamboat Fidele is "the confidence man"?

Dead Souls
Nikolai Gogol, 1842
In this quintessentially Russian novel, the reader follows Chichikov, a dismissed civil servant turned con-man, through the countryside in pursuit of his shady enterprise.

Confessions of Felix Krull, Confidence Man
Thomas Mann, 1954
Recounts the enchanted career of the con man extraordinaire Felix Krull - a man unhampered by the moral precepts that govern the conduct of ordinary people.

The Legend of Ulenspiegel and Lamme Goedzak and Their Adventures Heroical, Joyous and Glorious in the Land of Flanders and Elsewhere
Charles de Coster, 1867
Freely adapting the traditional tales of the folk heroes Till Eulenspiegel (Ulenspiegel) and Lamme, De Coster set his story in the 16th century, at the height of the Inquisition; the hero's father is burned at the stake as a heretic, and Ulenspiegel swears an oath to avenge his death.

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