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Mulisch, Harry


MULISCH, HARRY (1927– ), Dutch author. Born in Haarlem, Mulisch was of mixed descent, his father being a non-Jewish Czech banker and his mother a Jewess born in Antwerp. Widely recognized as one of Holland's most original modern writers, Mulisch published novels, short stories, and other prose works notable for their imaginative use of mythological, occult, and philosophical material to explore the existential problems of contemporary society. His earlier works include the novels Archibald Strohalm (1952), De diamant ("The Diamond," 1954), and Het zwarte licht ("The Black Light," 1956); also a play about the 12th-century heretic Tanchelijn (1960). Mulisch visited Israel in 1961 to cover the *Eichmann trial, which inspired De zaak 40/61 ("Case 40/61," 1961). Two other works on Jewish themes are the novel Het stenen bruidsbed ("The Stone Bridal Bed," 1959) and the autobiographical Voer voor psychologen ("Food for Psychologists," 1961). In 1975 Mulisch published a novel on lesbian love, Twee vrouwen ("Two Women"). Another novel, De aanslag ("The Assault," 1982), deals with the problem-filled life of a man orphaned in the war due to a cruel coincidence. In De ontdekking van de hemel ("The Discovery of Heaven," 1992), World War ii and its impact on private and public life take center stage once more. This vast novel, with its multi-layered narrative, counts as his masterpiece. The main story line has God renounce His trust in humanity and reclaim Moses' Stone Tablets with the Ten Commandments. The novel comes to an apocalyptic end in Jerusalem. Mulisch's work has been translated into many languages.

add. bibliography:

F.C. de Rover, De weg van het lachen: Over het oeuvre van Harry Mulisch (1987); E.G.H.J. Kuipers, De furie van het systeem. Over het literaire werk van Harry Mulisch in de jaren vijftig (1988); M. Mathijsen, Het voorbestemde toeval. Gesprekken met Harry Mulisch (2002); H. Mulisch and O. Blom, Mijn getijdenboek 1927–1951 & Zijn getijdenboek 1952–2002 (2002) (autobiography and biography).

[Gerda Alster-Thau /

Maritha Mathijsen (2nd ed.)]

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