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Bosboom-Toussaint, Anna Louisa Geertruida


Dutch novelist; b. Alkmaar, Dec. 16, 1812; d.'s Gravenhage, April 13, 1886. Bosboom-Toussaint is the bestknown Dutch author of historical novels in the tradition of Walter Scott, but she did not have the passion that gave Scott his impulse to tell stories in relation to a historic past. Her passion was to recapture religious experiences, especially in times of great spiritual and social upheaval, such as the rise of the Reformation in the Netherlands.

In Bosboom-Toussaint's novels, historical facts, diligently researched and often given in too much detail, serve only as the background for emotional involvement. The attractiveness of the dominant characters in her best novels is striking, such as Paul in Het Huis Lauernesse (1840, The House of Lauernesse), Gideon Florensz in the Leycester Cycle (184656), and Jan Jacobsz in De Delftsche wonderdokter (1870, The Wonder-doctor of Delft). They are well-balanced people who, passionately devoted to the new religious ideas, stimulate others to emulate their high religious ideals. These ideals are the author's own and based on an evangelical belief in the Bible.

Bosboom-Toussaint was prejudiced against Catholicism, as represented by Capuchins, Dominicans, and Jesuits in her novels, but dealt with Catholics sincerely and honestly in daily life. Her novels are frequently ambiguous because she tried to combine the techniques of the picaresque novel with those of the novel of character. Her peculiar talent, and her greatest achievement, lies in the second field, wherein she exhibits deep psychological insight. This develops in her later novels and reaches a peak in the best, Major Francis (1874), a psychological study of an unconventional young woman who is molded into a fine character by love.

Bibliography: a. l. g. bosboom-toussaint, Romantische Werken, 25 v. (The Hague 188588). g. knuvelder, Handboek tot de geschiedenis der Nederlandse letterkunde van der aanvang tot heden, 4 v. (Hertogenbosch 194853). j. m. c. bouvy, Idee en werkwijze van Mevrouw Bosboom-Toussaint (Rotterdam 1935).

[p. lukkenaer]

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