Dutch writer Jan de Hartog (1914-2002) was just in his mid-20’s when he suddenly became famous throughout Holland because of the unprecedented success of his best-selling novel “Hollands Glorie” (“Captain Jan” in English). The book’s publication coincided with the German invasion and occupation of the Netherlands in 1940. Like so many of De Hartog’s books, the novel is set at sea and has a strong moral message, and this didn’t seem to bother the Nazis at first, but later they banned it and the book’s protagonist became a wartime symbol of Dutch resistance. De Hartog escaped to England during the war and spent much of the rest of his life in the United States.
In this interview, he talks about writing, his frustrations about not receiving literary recognition, and why the success of “Hollands Glorie” prompted him to switch from writing in his native Dutch to writing in English.
Producer: Marijke van der Meer