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Bruggen, Carry van


BRUGGEN, CARRY VAN (1881–1932), Dutch novelist and philosophical writer. Born in Smilde as Carolina Lea de Haan, she was the sister of Jacob Israel de *Haan. Her first husband was the non-Jewish writer Kees van Bruggen, her second the art historian A. Pit. Carry van Bruggen, who worked for a while as a schoolteacher, published her first novel, De Verlatene ("The Forsaken Woman"), in 1910. This was pitilessly self-analytical and autobiographical, as were Heleen (1913), Het Huisje aan de Sloot ("The House on the Canal," 1921), and her last novel, Eva (1927). Carry van Bruggen displayed an ambivalent, at times antagonistic attitude to Jewish tradition and nationalism, although she described the joys and sorrows of the religious family in which she grew up with great affection. The tragedy of believing Jews whose children become estranged from tradition is a constant theme in her work. She was an original thinker, with a profound knowledge of the history of philosophy. Her main work, Prometheus (1919), is an attempt to follow a freethinker in his struggle with the powers of darkness, and it had a significant influence on leading Dutch writers. She analyzed modern superstition in Hedendaagsch Fetischisme ("Fetishism in our Time," 1925). Her novels further include Het Joodje ("The Little Jew," 1914), Een Indisch Huwelijk ("An Indian Marriage," 1921), and Vier Jaargetijden ("Four Seasons," 1924). She also published some minor novels under the pen name Justine Abbing. Carry van Bruggen spent the last years of her life in a mental hospital.


M.-A. Jacobs, Carry van Bruggen, Haar leven en literair werk (1962); J. Fontijn and D. Schouten, Carry van Bruggen: Een documentatie (1985); J.M.J. Sicking, Overgave en verzet: De levens - en wereldbeschouwing van Carry van Bruggen (1993); R. Wolf, Van alles het middelpunt: Over leven en werk van Carry van Bruggen (1980).

[Maritha Mathijsen (2nd ed.)]

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