Authors / W.F. Hermans

W.F. Hermans

W.F. Hermans

© Jutka Rona

Willem Frederik Hermans (1921-1995) is one of the greatest post-war Dutch authors. He left a huge and varied body of work. Before devoting his entire life to writing, Hermans had been teaching Physical Geography at the University of Groningen for many years. He had already started writing and publishing in magazines at a young age. His polemic and provocative style led to a court case as early as 1952. In addition to his novels he published over the years short stories, essays, poetry, theatre plays and translations. His work has been translated into many languages to international acclaim. The Darkroom of Damocles was put on stage in 2015. In February 2016 the movie to the novel Beyond Sleep, a Dutch-Norwegian co-production, has been launched in the Dutch cinema’s to much acclaim. The producer is Key Film, the director is Boudewijn Koole.


Recent title English material

Herinneringen van een engelbewaarder (A Guardian Angel Recalls:  The Cloud of Unknowing), 1971

Het behouden huis (The Safe House), 1956


Press on The Safe House:

A literary tour de force that contains the quintessence of Hermans’s work. Inhabitants of a sadistic universe full of malice and misunderstanding, a place that allows no escape, at least not in this disturbing book. - Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Unsurpassed in its stylistic precision, unsettling in its language, dialogue, atmosphere, humour. - Harry Mulisch, Author

Press on Beyond Sleep:

Impressive, compelling novel…The obstinate anti-human character of the land is marvellously caught, in a wealth of kinaesthetic detail, and yet there is beauty here… In Ina Rilke’s lively and graceful translation, his novel does what so few do: it makes one see and feel life afresh. - Paul Binding, Independent

Beyond Sleep is a welcome if belated introduction to an original and challenging voice in modern European literature. - Ian Brunskill, Times

The language is dry; the socks are wet; the compass is lost. A masterpiece. - Roddy Doyle, Irish Times