Arimei Books

Arimei Books : get acquainted with the defining work of Dutch poet Herman Gorter

"The spring is new and new the sound it brings."

When Herman Gorter published 'May' (Dutch: Mei) in 1889, this spontaneous and vibrant epic poem was immediately recognized by his peers as a landmark work for Dutch literature. Inspired in part by John Keats' 'Endymion' (1818), the poem sings of the journey of May through nature and of her quest for the young god Balder. It touches upon a wide range of themes, including the innocence and wonder of childhood, the hubris and disillusionment of adolescence, unattainable divine love and the inevitability of transcience, The work suggests that poetry itself may be the only way to preserve for eternity the essence of nature and of music.

'May' was followed by the sensitivist 'Verses' (1890), which are often seen as the beginning of modern Dutch poetry. They celebrate the unification of nature, poetry and the woman, as expressed through the bright light of Gorter's mind. Gorter then became more socially engaged and attempted to merge the egalitarian principles into his unified ideal: the all of All, as expressed in the epic 'Pan' (1916) and 'Lyrics' (published posthumously in 1930).

Gorter's work was perhaps an inevitable product of the artistically revolutionary and highly lucid spirit in The Netherlands of the 1880s. While Gorter's contemporary, Vincent van Gogh, had just completed the groundbreaking Sunflowers series of paintings, Gorter succeeded with to compose his own monuments of colourful power and innovation.
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