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Sunday, 6 January 2013

Frans Kellendonk, Dutch Writer

b. 7th January 1951
d. 15 February 1990

Professor of English language and literature in the Netherlands. He was also a novelist, who won the Ferdinand Bordewijk Prijs in 1987 for his novel Mystiek lichaam. This work attracted criticism in gay circles for its alleged homophobia, but Kellendonk was himself gay, and died of complications following AIDS a month after his 39th birthday.

Kellendonk studied English Language and Culture at the University of Nijmegen. He also studied for a time in England, and later worked at Utrecht University, the Free University and the University of Amsterdam. Besides his academic career as lecturer in English language and literature, Kellendonk wrote several stories and novels which brought him literary fame.His stylistic skill was praised, but his cultural criticism often maligned.Kellendonk's alleged neo-conservative world view, with a revaluation of traditional values, was far from fashionable in the Netherlands of the eighties. Kellendonk's literary home. from 1978 to 1983 was the magazine The Government  where he was editor in chief .

He debuted as a writer in May 1977 with the collection of stories “Bouwval“ (Ruin), for which he was awarded.the Anton Wachter Prize, established in that year. The novel  "Mystiek Lichaam" (Mystical Body)(1986) is his most successful work. The book was acclaimed, awarded the Ferdinand Bordewijk Prize and was nominated for the AKO Literature Prize, but it also drew allegations against Kellendonk of anti-Semitism and homophobia. .In gay circles, where Kellendonk was known to be homosexual, the vision of homosexuality as "sterile lifestyle" was controversial. Kellendonk defended himself against this criticism with the classic argument that an author can not be held responsible for the ideas of his fictional characters.
Kellendonk belonged to the generation of AFTh. van der Heijden and de Jong Oek .

Mystical Body confirmed his place in Dutch literature. Even before the publication of that book, the first symptoms of AIDS were revealed to Kellendonk. A book about the Kerwin Duinmeijer affair that he had prepared, therefore remained unfinished.

He died one month after his 39th birthday and was buried in Amsterdam Cemetery Zorgvlied .
In accordance with instructions he left, his complete works were published in 1992. In 2006 publishing Athenaeum-Polak & Van Gennep began to reissue Kellendonk's works. In 2006 the archives of Frans Kellendonk came under the management of the Library of the Society of Dutch Literature, University of Leiden .
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