Remembrance of a Prolific Writer Well-Known in the USA and UK
MAARTEN MAARTENS (1858-1915)
This month, 100 years ago, Maarten Maartens, the pen-name of Jozua Marius Willem van der Poorten Schwartz, died, on August 3, after a most productive life as a novel writer, playwright and poet. He is mostly known for his 13 novels and 4 short story collections, published by renowned publishing houses in America and England, as well as in Germany.
His legacy is impressive. A Dutchman writing directly in English, he received honorary degrees for his work from Aberdeen University in 1905, and Western University (now Pitt University) in Pennsylvania in 1907. On that occasion he also made a speech to inaugurate the extension of the Carnegy Institute in Pittsburg, on invitation by Andrew Carnegy himself. President Roosevelt received him – and his daughter Ada – for a private conversation about his work at the White House. A picture of the partial Carnegy Institute List of Visiting Guests in 1907 is below.
Maarten Maartens features as the only representative from Holland at this memorable occasion. He and Andrew Carnegy had become close friends while sojourning in the UK.
A copy of his Honorary Degree from Western University is shown hereunder:
The New York Times of Appril 14, 1907 devoted an article with a long interview of Maarten Maartens that particularly referred to his novels as representative of the modern literary instinct moving to realism.
His books are in many libraries – these pictures are of his novels kept in the Library of Congress – and at the time of his writing life it was said that they were always “out” in the libraries of his days.
His life and oeuvre will be commemorated in the Netherlands at his former home, the Maarten Maartens House in Doorn, on September 26. A Symposium will be held where several reputable speakers will remember his works, among others Dr. Hendrik Breuls, who in 2005 received his doctorate at the Technical University of Dresden in Germany, writing his dissertation entitled A Comparative Evaluation of Selected Prose by Maarten Maartens.
The Maarten Maartens House, which he designed himself, still exists and is now owned by a Foundation, The Slotemaker De Bruine Institute, a business training center. Maarten Maartens’ library, which contains his many valuable books collected over his life time, is kept in tact.
The Maarten Maartens House (picture by the Slotemaker de Bruine Institute) is used for functions and meetings. It’s original name, as Maarten Maartens baptized it, was “Zonheuvel” (“Sun hill”)
It is also used for family reunions of the Schwartz family and its many descendants. A picture below is of a family reunion in 1939 or there about. The little boy at the bottom, sitting behind his cousin, with one hand before his eyes, cuddled by two lovely aunts, is me; the three of us on that picture that are the only ones still alive.
Maarten Maartens’ nephew and Dutch painter Michiel Kranendonk ( www.michielkranendonk.nl/)made a wall painting of the house – as it looked like in Maarten Maartens’ days – that hangs in the hall. Part of it is reproduced below:
The Symposium organizers have produced a flyer for the commemoration part of which is shown below.
The aim is to bring Maarten Maartens back to life for a short while. He died with the great satisfaction that his whole oeuvre was reproduced by Constable & Co in London in 1914, an honor few writers befalls. But he also said at that time that he knew quite well that people would not give “a twopence ” if he started writing more. Writers come and go, but at least you can look them up in a library.
To make his writings more accessible, I have summarized his 13 novels in one book, entitled Maarten Maartens Rediscovered – The Most Popular Dutch Author Abroad, using his own writings in the summaries to give a flavor of his style. 19th Century authors used to write longhand, by the petroleum lamp, maybe using a prehistoric typewriter, and their books were often long and sometimes longwinded, which was the style of the day. This meant distilling close to 2 million words to some 164,000 words, while keeping his writing style alive. It got good reviews, fortunately, and is now available on Amazon.com in paperback and hardcover, published by Willow Manor Publishing, Fredericksburg, Virginia (www. willowmanorpublishing.com).
Part II of Maarten Maartens Rediscovered, summarizing his first 1889 self-published novel, an amusing detective-story, reportedly the first of its kind in The Netherlands, and his 4 short story collections, will appear later in 2015.
When we return from the Symposium in Holland, we will produce a full report.
All my best,
SOME WOMEN I HAVE KNOWN – MEMOIR AND ROMANCE
KIRKUS REVIEW; “A WISTFUL MEMOIR…“
AMAZON.COM AND PAPERBACK
ENCHANTING THE SWAN -ROMANCE
KIRKUS REVIEW: “A LIVELY SYMPHONY”
KINDLE AND NOOK, AND IN PAPERBACK
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MAARTEN MAARTENS REDISCOVERED – NON-FICTION: MOST POPULAR DUTCH AUTHOR ABROAD
KIRKUS REVIEW: An…alluring retelling of the works of an obscure author.
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Love Makes the World go Round
This is the new perspective of ENCHANTÉ. We will write about love and loving things, inspiring books, inspiring authors, inspiring people, period. With ENCHANTING THE SWAN out on the shelves and in the CLOUDS, we will leave the field of satire, annoying politics, and shameful and cruel behavior in the world. After all, I am an alien (“from Mars” not “Venus”), and have no vote. And I am a romantic, not a warrior.
The story of Paul and Fiona is harrowing enough. This is the weekend that Enchanting is launched. Many of us remember the loves we lost, either because we were stupid, or the loved one was, or we both were, and how hard it was to put humpty-dumpty back together again, if at all, or to find another person we felt excited about. There is something to say in favor of “arranged marriages.” A hard act to balance for the parents and loved ones concerned, but at least the youngster does not face the situation he or she won’t find a person they could like and stays single, still looking out for what is not there.
Well, for Paul and Fiona, breaking up is a hard decision, because it all looked so beautiful, so promising after they found each other in the enticing melodies of love at the College of William & Mary. Making music together seemed heaven and then boom! Her wicked godparents put a spoke in the merry wheel.
For Paul it is like being shoved onto the wild sea in a shaky dingy. Where other women are plenty but dangerous territory. And no sharing of music. For Fiona it is even worse. She engages in an arranged marriage, which proves hell. Only to abide by the wishes of her deceased parents to marry some Belgian nobleman. Here the arranged marriage definitely and miserably failed.
I have not seen many love stories where music plays such a major role. When I search in Publishers Weekly, or similar search engines, nothing comes up when I enter love and music. Enchanting the Swan must be rather unique then.
The story formed in my mind when I looked back on my life in which I failed myself to secure the wealth of music and love. Somehow it was not given to me. I lost out on it while meeting a lovely cellist at boarding school and later in Paris when I had my adventure with the adorable pianist (Some Women I Have Known http://amzn.to/1QIL94B ). Then music faded in my life, and I could never regain it. It slipped away.
Though written in the first person, Enchanting The Swan is not a memoir. It is pure fiction. First person in this story suited its structure, so it was a deliberate choice of writing style. My next stories will be in the third person, because it allows a deeper development of the principal character and greater freedom in point of view.
The girl to whom it is dedicated, Fioen, is a relic of my young youth when she gave me that little kiss in the vegetable yard of their lovely country house, because she loved me and I loved her. I think we were both six years old. I do remember it was a beautiful feeling and how utterly destroyed I was when I heard ten years later she died in a terrible accident while riding her horse driven wagon, and a car ran into them in front of their house. It threw me off for years. I still remember her. I still see her in my memory, standing close to me. I still feel the kiss. I still love her and miss her somehow, like a dream I can’t forget.
Some of the tragedies that Fiona and Paul experience in their young life will not be strange to many people. Both are real life, and so is the music that saved them.
If you like to read a harrowing but heartwarming love story, you can get it at Amazon and Barnes & Noble by clicking as below, in Kindle, Nook or paperback.
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Have a pleasant read,