ENCHANTÉ – AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 YEARS
160 years spun together, brother and sister through “thick and thin” – Dutch saying -, Marie and John celebrated their 80th birthdays on July 9, 2017, at the house of their granduncle, Joost van der Poorten Schwartz, alias Maarten Maartens, the once-famous novel writer around the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. Uncle Joost was the brother of their grandfather, John (Johannes) Schwartz, after whom this John was named. Although the castle-like house, named “Zonheuvel” or “Sun Hill”, located in Doorn near Utrecht in the Netherlands, is now owned by the Dutch business training and advice institution, SBI (de stichting Slotemaker de Bruine Instituut), it is still used as a regular reunion venue for the extended Schwartz family (and their counterpart de Savornin Lohman family as well). They revere their uncle’s fame with his pen and immense imagination and like to dwell in his library and workroom, where he kept his many old literary books while writing his own. At the same time, they enjoy the good catering services of “Zonheuvel Hotel,” which SBI built on the grounds of the estate.
Both Marie and John went around the world during their lifetime, Marie for “Women in Europe for a Common Future,” a non-governmental organization she created in 1994, and which has internationally grown over the years, now operating under the name of “Women Engage for a Common Future.” Having relinquished the direction of WECF to her daughter Sascha Gabizon, who directs the organization as Executive Director from München, Germany, Sascha has expanded the operations of WECF considerably under the guidance of her mother, Marie, still acting as Honorary President and Policy Adviser. Sascha was recently elected as European Regional Representative to UNEP, the United Nations Environment Programme, one of the primary activities of WECF. (UNEP’s election results are in: Sascha is now UNEP’s regional representative for civil society in Europe.) As she once told me – in all modesty – “I’m a good manager.”
Sascha’s brother Michiel Kranendonk became a devoted art painter who produces wonderful special-light-effect sea views, portraits, and sculptures and also accomplished an impressive wall-painting of the Maarten Maartens House that hangs in Hotel Zonheuvel.
Both Sascha with Marc Gabizon, and Michiel with Swenne van Roosmalen, were blessed with lovely children. Sascha with Lily, who at age 16 already speaks four languages fluently (Dutch, French, English, and German!), and Michiel with Marinke, a beauty in full bloom, and Ingmar, her younger brother in battle.
Photo above: Swenne van Roosmalen, Michiel’s wife. Next, their daughter Marinke, dancing with Preston John Schwartz, his sister Sadie looking on. Marinke’s brother, Ingmar, appears later as an Indian warrior in Karl May’s Old Shatterhand stories Marie always read endlessly on “de plee” – (Dutch word for toilet and pronounced “play.”)
John traveled the world for the World Bank most of his life, and also as an international consultant for 17 years after he retired, looking back on mixed results, as improving public financial management, sound economic investment, and modernizing old cultural habits with deeply-vested interests in less developed nations proves difficult, slow-moving, and often exasperating. His children did not think much of it – “Daddie is always away on mission” – while Joy, his dapper wife, had to drive them to and from school in snow and ice, or thunderstorms. In the end, Pa left it to others trying to improve the world – much too late the kids said – and became a writer. In the spirit of Uncle Joost, also writing in English.
Photos above: John’s books about Maarten Maartens’ stories. Next, leaving the two books to his greatuncle on his desk, in his memory and with great admiration. Standing against the bouquet of flowers is a booklet by Maximiliaan Schwartz, a cousin of Maarten Maartens, who translated some of his stories into Dutch. It was a gift to John from Ada Baars de Savornin Lohman. This is a rare booklet and little known in the family today. Uncle Max descended from the first marriage of the Great Grandfather Carl Schwartz and was a doctor in the classical languages, who translated the works of many Greek and Latin authors into Dutch while being Dean of the City Gymnasium of Nijmegen in Holland. These books are still in print.
John’s kids did not follow their dad to the World Bank but succeeded in making good careers of their own. Samantha obtained a Ph.D. in psychology and law and works as a jury consultant (US law system) traveling to all corners of the USA, and David is a successful sales representative of Ethicon, the surgical instruments division of Johnson & Johnson, selling “hammers and nails” to needy surgeons. The grandchildren would probably still be working on grandpa’s failed missions, a never-ending story, but, so far, they seem more interested in playing football and ballet dancing.
Preston is a Little League football player in the US and was named “most valuable player” (at the age of 7) of his region in 2016. On “Sadie Ballet”: she is the little one second from right. At the end of her show, she makes a summersault!
As a result, on this fabulous day of celebration, the two 80-year-olds – John reached his past November 10, 2016, and Mary will reach hers next February 11, 2018 – can’t complain about their life’s achievements, despite the pain, hardship and difficult moments. It was, therefore, a great pleasure to celebrate this lifelong achievement with dear family and dear friends from different parts of the world we had not seen for many years, some never before, in bright sunny weather (hooray for the Netherlands). It was a day of music, song, and dance, with good dishes, beer (Van Vollenhoven’s lager and stout!) provided by Poesiat & Kater, Muiderpoort-Amsterdam, courtesy brewers Eymert van Manen and Pieter Teepe, wine, and fun, and having a chance to interact with each other, even if it was for a brief moment. The serene atmosphere of the Maarten Maartens House offers a splendid environment for such an occasion.
After all this self-boasting, a few pictures of the event follow below. Most pictures were made by April R. Faulkner-Schwartz, an excellent amateur-photographer, whose diligence is hereby greatly appreciated. Other family members and friends (among others Nellie Mietes, Junte Schwartz, Lodewijk Regout) also contributed pictures and we are immensely grateful for that.
Welcome toasts at the Maarten Maartens House Marie – John – Max the Dog – Joy (John’s wife) son David, daughter Sam, granddaughter Sadie, Amalia Baracs, in the background Jan van Roosmalen, Michiel’s father-in-law, and
Mary, John, Joy, David with Sadie, Samantha, Jan van Roosmalen, Willemijn Banki (student friend of Michiel’s) and Amalia Baracs in the background – Next Joy and John toasting.
Guests still entering the hall of the Maarten Maartens House during the welcoming ceremony.
First cousins Junte and John chatting together. Next cousins Arent van Sminia and Alexander de Savornin Lohman talking.
Dear friend Amalia Baracs bringing flowers to Marie. Next Joy talking to Marie with April Schwartz listening in.
Pianist Bas Vermeyden playing classical music on Maarten Maartens grand piano, still in splendid shape, to accompany a show of Michiel’s paintings on screen. Children are watching the show.
Sascha, director of the performance, speaking. Cousin Samantha speaking as well.
Above Lily Gabizon, Naomi van Kleef, Sadie and Preston Schwartz, Marinke Kranendonk, Samantha Schwartz, performing.
The children and grandchildren performed a hilarious show.
Michiel, acting as Marie’s mother superior at her girl-boarding school, Sacré Coeur, who was not happy with her behavior.
Heleen de la Hayze (now Corbet), Marie’s oldest friend from Heemstede, Marie, and John watching the performance. Next Michiel being addressed by his mother during the show.
Ending the performance in applause and deep bows.
John dancing with Heleen (like they were 5 and 4 years old) – and the rest of the party in full swing.
More dancing after the show
Cousins Michiel and David having second thoughts about their parents’ speeches
Michiel turned off by David’s flirting with Lilly.
Joy and Alexander de Savornin Lohman. Next, Joy holding a gift photo with Mary, John, and sister Carla when they were teens.
From left to right: Willem Dólleman from Kenya and his wife Marie-José, John, (Willem Dólleman from Paris, hidden behind John), Judith and her father Junte. Willem Dólleman from Kenya became a successful farmer like his father Willem (from the North East Polder – Flevoland) and built a windfarm in Kenya of 365 wind turbines, producing 320 MW, with partners, in a remote but very windy area, to supply Kenya with cheaper alternative energy (at half the cost of European windfarms!) Read about it on http://bit.ly/2yHK1jL , how he overcame World Bank objections (!!!) and won the confidence of the African Development Bank, which was my employer for many years after my retirement from the World Bank. Also consult http://bit.ly/2yPUszf, and about Willem’s earlier successful exploits in Tanzania and Kenya: http://bit.ly/2iDeo4n. This is a remarkable story! If there is one family member who deserves the crown, it’s Willem Dolleman from Kenya! I regret we did not herald his terrific achievements more loudly at the party. The Dólleman family came from our grandmother Mary Dólleman, who married our grandfather Hector van Coehoorn van Sminia (Arent van Sminia, our cousin, below, attended our birthday party as well). Mary Dólleman’s mother was the daughter of Johan Jacob van der Wall, medalled Officer of the Cavalry in Holland, who as a young boy was forced to accompany Napoleon on his infamous Russia invasion. He was one of the very few who came back alive, on a beautiful horse, given to him by his saviors in Russia. I was delighted to meet again after many years with another dear cousin Willem Dolleman, who was a former diplomat of the Dutch Foreign Service and now lives in Paris with his French wife. We were so glad to reconnect with this illustrious part of the family.
Same photograph: Cousin and niece Judith, second from right, who had just recovered from a serious and mysterious infection and we were so happy to see her alive and kicking again, though still using a walking stick at the party. A few months before we were praying day-in-day-out that she would not succumb but she’s a very strong-willed girl (with a lovely little daughter Nicoline) and thank God made it back.
Next photo above: Marie in talks with Maartje Hamers-Dolleman, sister of Willem from Kenya, and Marie-José Dolleman.
Children having fun in the lovely garden of the Maarten Maartens House
A few of the many group photos. Names on the photo above:
Left: The open-air theater, built by Maarten Maartens’ daughter, Aunt Ada in 1939, as photographed in 1971, in a 1991 brochure of the Maarten Maartens Foundation. Next, the theater rediscovered and restored by SBI in 2017, just ready for the birthday party (photograph by Kim Mastenbroek of Hotel Zonheuvel).
April Renée Faulkner-Schwartz, the great photographer, with her two children Preston John and Sadie Rose. Next, her mother Doris Kooch.
We did not realize how important this festivity would become when the idea of a joint 80th birthday arose. When the day was over and everybody had gone home, it dawned on us what a great day it was. To us – and hopefully to all who came – the idea of the whole family and friends being together for a few hours became a memorable event. Even if we could not talk long with everyone, it was a great feeling being together and having seen each other again. Life is only so short.
Some Women I Have Known
Why should we be surprised that so many like this memoir/coming of age story? On a first Goodreads giveaway of only 2 books it got some 600 entries!
(If the links do not function- sorry, a WordPress Issue- kindly copy them into your browser/url)
Whose memoir starts off playing with Audrey when they were kids (she 13 and he 7) , only to discover ten years later that she has become a famous movie star winning an Oscar in Roman Holiday with the great Gregory Peck? I remember her from when she came to visit us during World War II when she lived near us in Arnhem at the house of her grandfather, Baron van Heemstra, with her mother and two stepbrothers. She told me she practiced for ballet at the Arnhem Conservatory. I drove her in my pony wagon but did not really know what she was talking about!
The Audrey picture above and the dancing one below are private pictures that nobody else has! I donated them to the Audrey Hepburn Children’s Fund.
Thirty years later we met again in Geneva when she was an accomplished and widely acclaimed actress, with two great sons. Many people knew her then but few people knew her as a young, beautiful undiscovered star at age 13 (picture left).
Sam says: This is a heartwarming collection of short stories that portray the path of boy meets world with realism and sensitivity. Perhaps most surprising are the different relationships that each story portrays – some were romantic, while others were more familial or close friendships. Those qualities, combined with the historical backdrop and international perspective, distinguish this book from the more typical and predictable storylines, making it a five-star read!
Get it at:
This may be the reason why so many want to read this story. But it’s not just Audrey. The other woman who till to-day, remains an anchor in my life is my grandmother, who appears in the book as “Lady D.” Who does not love their grandmother like the author does?
Sure everyone’s grandmother is something special! This one was, a Grand Dame who left an indelible mark on the author’s mind and soul. Many want to read it, thinking, yes, that’s how my grandmother was, too!
Then follow the heartwarming females that upset any young lad growing up!
And the first real love? That girl that knocks you of your socks when you are just 17?
Get it at: http://amzn.to/1QIL94B
If I told you that picture with the beloved girlfriend was taken in a heavily guarded Jesuit boarding school you would not believe it, but it’s TRUE.
Then that lovely pianist in Paris.
Paris upsets anyone’s love life. Hundreds of books and movies ballyhoo about it, and you don’t believe it until you get bitten yourself! That city does it to young people, especially if you speak its language of love, as I do. Imagined, dreamt of, hallucination, or wishful thinking, probably all of the above, turned me topsy-turvy. Everyone who went through the same experience, and many did, wants to compare with someone else’s experience, just to be able to say, yes! that’s how it felt! Yes, that’s how it was! And then to think that I and my adorable pianist ran into Sammy Davis in the Hermes store, getting his broad smiles and autographs on her shawl!
Get it at:
But the author ran into big troubles, too. Did anyone mess up because they met spider woman when they started their professional career? I did! Nothing more distressful then getting enamored by blond hair, artic blue eyes, a most enticing bright smile and a sexy seductress grabbing you by your….well you know what. Readers don’t want to miss that desperate episode. The author got out of it thanks to the blessing of his gods…oh boy, how that seductress could have destroyed his life…Remember that fabulous song “Here she comes! she is a Man Eater, Ho Ho Ho!?” Watch out!
And then he escapes to Switzerland, meets a loving woman but when the relationship sours because of differences in viewpoints and objectives in life, he breaks up once more, only to fall in love with a Norwegian Viking on the skis slopes that ends up in tears on both sides.
Ach! How difficult young life is. Loving and living love and it never stays the way it is. Why does it have to be that way?
Dan Dwyer writes: I had read the author’s vignette on Audrey Hepburn a few months ago when I was looking for something short, different and personal because my daughter is a big Hepburn fan. Mr. Schwartz did not fail me then nor has he failed me now with his compilation of the women he has met in his life. This latest work, Some Women I Have Known, talks as much about the man himself growing up amount the fairer sex, which he learns almost too late in life has a decisive advantage over a man too eager to find life’s companion.
Get it at:
And so the deep sufferer left for Africa. Only a desperado would do that. But he got mesmerized by a dark figure, a magnificent African woman, strolling on a hill who wanted something from him. No, not sex, not earning money to give her beauty away. She wanted freedom, away from mistreatment, longing for the moment she could employ her talents, flying away to unsurpassed heights, dislodge herself from imprisonment in a suffocating society, forced marriage and abusive treatment. A beautiful bird from the jungle, begging to be let loose from its cage to spread its wings and shoot out to heaven.
I don’t think I can ever forget Nyira, ever. I don’t know where she is now, what finally happened to her when I got her out, but she did get her chance to live a better life and she did.
And that’s the moment where young minds settle and reach some sort of maturity. It’s what they call coming-of-age. We all go through that one way or another. The only thing this author can say is that he was damn lucky he did not fall between the cracks. He finally met the woman he felt comfortable with. The opposite of what he had imagined.
I think this is the element why so many want to read this love story. It’s out on Amazon. com, Kindle e-book, paperback and hardcover. Don’t miss out on these stories, they inspired me to write them, and they will inspire you when you read them.
SOME WOMEN I HAVE KNOWN – MEMOIR AND ROMANCE
KIRKUS REVIEW; “A WISTFUL MEMOIR…“
AMAZON.COM KINDLE, PAPERBACK AND HARDCOVER.
What’s a hundred years? Maarten Maarten’s 100-year commemoration
Yes, indeed. That’s him at 18, then and now, 79. It feels like a hundred! Just got back from The Netherlands where we commemorated the writing life of The Most Popular Dutch Author Abroad, Maarten Maartens, alias Joost van der Poorten Schwartz, who passed away 100 years ago.
Will I be commemorated in one hundred years? You? He or she? Maybe some great-grandchildren may vaguely remember John Schwartz. But I don’t count on being talked about, let alone celebrated.
Well, Maarten Maartens was, on September 26-27, in Doorn, a small but elite village near Utrecht in the center of Holland.
Some 150 people came to listen to several speakers who spoke about the writer’s life and vision, his religious background and the sense of moral conflict in his oeuvre, his care for his sickly wife Anna and love for his daughter Ada, his many friends in England and the United States, and the strange rebuke of his native land. His keen sense for art, languages and the written word pictured a remarkable man, a poet, playwright and philosopher. So many things combined in one person to admire. Few of us achieve what he did.
His former residence, “Zonheuvel” (Sun Hill), designed by himself according to similar old stately mansions in the Netherlands he had lived in, was full with people, taking a glimpse of how he lived, at the dining room with the grand, the salon, card room, and his famous library with the many ancient books he acquired.
In succession, the residence, the dining room with the grand piano, the library and the garden, which used to be a French garden inspired by the Chateau de Versailles. Unfortunately, some of the old furniture and curios, especially in the dining room and the hall, which contained a wonderful collection of old rifles, swords and harnesses, are not there anymore, as they were removed from the premises. I still remember them when I visited the house as a kid. I used this memory to describe the residence of Baron de Maconville in my novel Enchanting The Swan. Pictures in a little book put together by Th. M. Gorissen, show how it was, originally. I am still mad as hell these items were sold or taken away after I had left the Netherlands in 1969, but the Maartens Library is kept in tact by the Slotemaker De Bruine Institute (SBI)
Reception Committee (Lucie Wessels, left, and Itje Verhagen, right, both of SBI) at the Poort House, entrance to the Maarten Maartens House.
Mr. Jurriaan Röntgen, chairman of the organizing committee who put together the MM Symposium weekend, with next to him Dr. Bouwe Postmus, President of the Maarten Maartens Foundation, and Mr. Jan Willem van Dongen, Mayor of Doorn and the Utrecht Hills Region, at the inauguration of the Maarten Maartens Allée, underneath the Poort House at the entrance of the Maarten Maartens House.
Next, a glimpse of the author’s writing desk in his library full of valuable ancient books, with some interesting people taking seat behind it.
Dr. Hendrik Breuls, who wrote his doctoral dissertation about Maarten Maartens, and his wife, Anna-Christina; both spoke at the Symposium.
Two of Maarten Maartens’ great grand nieces, Marinke Kranendonk and Lily Gabizon. “Some Women!”
First left: Marie Kranendonk-Schwartz, grand-niece of Maarten Maartens. Second photograph, right, Dr. Bouwe Postmus, who collected Maarten Maartens’ short stories (which I consider his greatest strengths), published in English and American magazines, in a new volume At Home and Abroad, Stories of Love (2015 – Stichting Maarten Maartens, The Netherlands; ISBN 978 90 9029026 3).
Maaren Maartens’ quotes displayed in his library
An old organ in the house
The oldest living “Schwartz” in the Salon, Mrs. Hans Wichers Hoedt – van der Laan, daughter of Marietje Schwartz, a sister of Maarten Maartens.
Pianist Shuann Chai, who performed during the evening concert in the “Maartenskerk” (Maartens Church) in Doorn, with narrator Huib Ramaer, who linked together the various sonnets and poems by Maarten Maartens and others, put to music by among others Dutch composer René Samson.
Mattijs van de Woerd, baritone, right, who performed the MM sonnets, as well as other songs by Edward Elgar, Frank Bridge, Ralph Vaughan Williams and William Walton, written by English authors such as John Keats, William Thackeray, Thomas Hardy and Rudyard Kipling, with whom Maarten Maartens entertained regular contacts during his life.
Dutch composer René Samson, with pianist Shuann Chai and baritone Mattijs van de Woerd, enjoying warm applause for their marvelous performance.
Painter Michiel Kranendonk explaining how he constructed the wall-painting of the Maarten Maartens Huis, which is displayed in the nearby Paviljoen building (Zonheuvel Hotel) on the grounds.
Maarten Maartenshuis painted by Michiel Kranendonk
Eymert van Manen, co-founder of the Foundation of the Crowned Falcon, the former trademark of Van Vollenhoven’s Beer, during the MM-luncheon, savoring recipes from Maarten Maartens’ cookbook. The Foundation recreated the Crowned Falcon’s famous Stout in 2006, and re-established the Falcon on its pillar in Amsterdam at the previous location of the brewery, which was the main source of wealth of Maarten Maartens and his wife Anna van Vollenhoven at the turn of the 20th century (see related blogs under tags Van Vollenhoven’s Stout and Eymert van Manen). The Stout, which has been renewed each year since its inauguration, will be commercially produced shortly by a renewed Van Vollenhoven’s Beer brewery.
Mrs. van Manen, Junte Schwartz and cousin Hans Wichers Hoedt,
Anne van Delft, narrator, presents the writings of Maarten Maartens in one of the stately rooms of the Maarten Maartens House.
Jurriaan Röntgen, chairman of the MM-Commemoration Committee, left with his wife Aleid on a baclony of the Maarten Maartens House, and right, in conversation with painter Michiel Kranendonk and Henriette van Zwet- de Savornin Lohman, member of the Organizing Committee.
Showcases with curios related to Maarten Maartens, his life, his work. Middle photo on the right, Mrs Henriette van Zwet-de Savornin Lohman, member of the Organizing Committee, explaining the contents.
Mrs. Marie Kranendonk-Schwartz, grand niece of Maarten Maartens, and member of the MM Organizing Committee, giving her speech on the occasion of the Maarten Maartens Symposium, with her daughter Sascha Gabizon in the background, smiling.
Mr. Jan Nierman, spouse of Alexandra Röntgen, sister of the organizer of the MM commemoration, Jurriaan Röntgen, inspecting the Schwartz Family Tree; what a job to put that one together!
John Schwartz, grand nephew of Maarten Maartens, author of Maarten Maartens Rediscovered (2015, WillowManorPublishing.com). Part Two, His Best Short Stories, a summarization of his four collections of published short stories, will appear in 2016.
100 years ago a great author passed away
On September 25, 2015, a great forgotten writer will be remembered in Holland at this historic mansion in Doorn, in the province of Utrecht. Maarten Maartens, alias Jozua van der Poorten Schwartz, who between 1889 and 1912 published 13 novels and four volumes of short stories, authoring them directly in English even though he was a born Dutchman, died 100 years ago, in 1915, just after his whole oeuvre was reissued by Constable & Co. in London in 2014, an honor few authors befalls.
Flying to Amsterdam from Washington Dulles last night, I saw a British-American 2015 movie, Far From the Madding Crowd, based on the 1874 novel by the British author Thomas Harding. Thomas Harding and Maarten Maartens were friends. Both were honored in 1905 at the same time with honorary doctorates bestowed on them by Aberdeen University. I was struck by how well Harding’s novel was adapted and acted out. A gripping movie. Go see it and you will agree.
At the same time I thought how well some of Maarten Maartens novels could be worth a movie. In particular his novel Dorothea, about a pristine young woman, whose mother died giving her birth. She leaves Dorothea most of her substantial estate and money because her husband Captain Sandring is a gambling soldier and womanizer. The Captain leaves Dorothea in the hands of two strict Protestant aunts0, who immerse her in Bible texts. When she reaches the age of twenty, her estranged father commands her to join him Paris. He exposes her to the decadent world of Nice, Cannes and Monte Carlo in the hope to marry her out for money so he can gamble with hers. This does not work out the way he planned and the ensuing story, especially Dorothea’s wretched marriage, is most engaging.
Another novel good for a movie is The Price of Lis Doris, about a gifted painter like Van Gogh, whose work is stolen by his drawing master Odo Pareys. Odo threatens to do harm to Yetta, Otto’s wife and Lis’s protector in their early youth. If Lis ever tells anybody it was not Odo but Lis who painted these masterworks, Yetta will suffer. The whole plot is worth a thrilling movie.
I felt lucky that the Higher Powers pushed me to make summarizations of his novels, often long in the style of the nineteenth-century, to lift his work out of oblivion, so that people studying 19th century authors, or even my own off-spring and their future generations, could enjoy his original stories and taste his fluent writing style and sharp dialogues. After reading his novels, I began to understand his deserved acclaim in the USA, UK and Germany at his time.
His first book was a detective story, The Black-box Murder, written anonymously by “The Man Who Discovered the Murder.” He wrote and self-published it after he read a then popular detective story while sojourning in Paris, The Mystery of a Hanson Cab, just to show he could write as well as anybody else. And he proved right. The Black-box Murder is still sold by Print On Demand companies through among others Abebooks.com. It is a lightly written mystery thriller, and several of his next books retain a mystery murder twist as in The Sin of Joost Avelingh and God’s Fool.
Maarten Maartens Rediscovered – The Most Popular Dutch Author Abroad was published in August 2015.
Kirkus Reviews gave it a commendable critique which was published in the Kirkus Magazine of September of the same year, something that only happens to less than 10 % of their reviews.
Part II, The Short Stories, which are summarizations of his four volumes of collected short stories, will appear in November/December of 2015.
A great writer not to be forgotten!
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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