Why It Took So Long to Translate a Dutch Classic

The Dutch novelist Gerard Reve led a scandal-filled career. In 1966, he converted to Catholicism while being one of the Netherlands’ first openly gay writers. That same year, he was prosecuted for blasphemy: The trial concerned a passage from his book Nearer to Thee wherein God manifests himself as a donkey, only for the narrator to have sex with it—three times. But Reve’s first big controversy came much earlier in 1947, when he published what is widely considered the greatest Dutch...

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