Mention Jan Steen and everybody starts talking about the young girl with oysters, his rowdy family scenes, his ‘Mayor of Delft’ portrait. Nobody will mention a religious painting by Steen, or a work based on some Greek or Roman myth. The current exhibition at the Mauritshuis shows a less familiar side of Jan Steen.
This small, moving exhibition can be found at The Hague’s Historical Museum. The museum is one of several around the so-called Hofvijver and close to the Mauritshuis. The exhibition focuses on the lives of Mr. Cupido and Mr. Sideron: two African servants at the 18th century court of the Oranje-Nassau Stadholder-family in The Hague.
While Trump claimed he had been vindicated – and therefore his Russian headache and cloud had lifted (fake news and alternative facts, as usual) … While Theresa May had created a big, huge, enormous splitting headache – for herself, her party, plenty voters who had supported her … I accidentally hit upon a very bad idea.
“The last diary of Tsaritsa Alexandra” is no novel, but a historical document. It is what its title suggest: one of Alexandra’s diaries. The book not only consists of the diary, but contains a small biography and other parts.
This book is not new. It first appeared in 2009 and went through several editions. The reason I became interested in it, was the recent lecture I attended. Its topic was the plight of elderly Jews in Nazi occupied Vienna, left behind by family members who managed to emigrate and escape.
“Histoire véridique de Napoléon Bonaparte et de Charles-André Pozzo di Borgo” is the book’s subtitle. This is not Marie Ferranti’s first book. Nor is it her first to receive a prize. It actually got two in 2012. But as readers know: not being awarded a prize does not mean a book is bad; while being awarded a prize does not mean a book is good.
The turmoil which followed the Brexit shows no sign of abating. The turmoil in British politics, I mean. Developments follow each other so fast, it is unbelievable. What seems to be the situation between breakfast and lunch, changes before lunch, again before dinner and kind of remains the situation between dinner and breakfast the next day.
This is an interesting biography, written by a daughter about her mother and family. So what? Well: nearly everybody is familiar with the husband and father. Hardly anybody is interested in the mother, wife, family of the man who tried to blow up Hitler.
Earlier this year, German author Hanns-Josef Ortheil presented “Die Berlinreise” as well as a new version of his “Der Blaue Weg”. From both books, he read excerpts. These had his audience in stitches, or moved it deeply. So when I visited a local German library for a totally different book and stumbled upon “Die Berlinreise” (The Berlin trip) it was this novel I took home.
“Since Maggie went away” is written by writer-journalist Jacqueline Nolan. The play is based on personal experiences and recently uncovered family history. Being familiar with press reports on its topic and having recently read “The Baby Thief”(see “Thief”), I attended an impressive performance.