May : An epic poem about youth

Gorter, Herman; Baars, Cisca; Polakovičová, Eva; Leffring, Myrte; Francken, Vicky; Walter, Anne; Kruijff, M.

Arimei Books, 2021
unavailable but just 3 left!uitverkocht maar nog 3 in voorraad!
Paperback: EUR 20,00 
Softcover, illustrated, bilingual.

Herman Gorter's masterpiece 'May' describes the magical journey of adolescence, the springtime of our lives, against the background of Holland’s flowery dunescapes.

OVER DE AUTEUR: Herman Gorter (1864-1927)

Gorter was born into a simple family in Wormerveer, a rural town in the northwestern Netherlands. His father, a pastor, died when he was only six years old. Still, Gorter received a good education, studied classical languages in Amsterdam and became a teacher at a Gymnasium.

In 1889, after three years of work on his epic poem 'Mei' ('May'), Gorter finally could proclaim “the thing is done”. 'Mei' was published in three parts in the contemporary periodical De Nieuwe Gids ('The New Guide'), a retrospection of Gorter’s youth through nature, love, idealism, disillusion and melancholic reflection. Spontaneous and full of vibrant imagery, 'Mei' quickly became a landmark for the 1880 literary movement in The Netherlands, that attempted to reclaim aesthetics for the art (the 'Tachtigers').

In 1890, Gorter married the girl that stood model for 'Mei'. That same year his 'Verzen' was published, celebrating his spiritual and sensual experiences of these emotionally rich years. Gorter would gradually distance himself from the 'Tachtigers' movement. He became increasingly politically engaged, and turned to express his Marxist ideals through his work. The metaphysical longing expressed in Book 2 of 'Mei' turned out to be a prelude to his more utopian work of this time, such as Pan (1916). Like 'Mei', Gorter eventually became disillusioned about the attainability of his ideals and had to deal with recurring depressions. Love remained a key theme in Gorter’s work until his death.


'May' describes the magical journey of adolescence against the background of Holland’s flowery dunescapes. In strokes of wonder-filled impressions a stunningly unspoiled girl, May, explores the promise of springtime and the intense spiritual life of youth.

However, the cycle of life always moves on, and as May matures and returns to earth, she finds it readying for summer.

When Herman Gorter published 'Mei' ('May') in 1889, this spontaneous and vibrant epic poem was immediately recognized by his peers as a landmark work for Dutch literature. Mei was perhaps an inevitable product of the artistically revolutionary and highly lucid spirit in The Netherlands of the 1880s. While Gorter’s contemporary, Vincent Van Gogh, had just completed the groundbreaking 'Sunflowers' series of paintings, Gorter succeeded with Mei to compose his own artistic monument of colourful power and innovation.

After 132 years, Herman Gorter's classic Dutch masterpiece 'May' is now available to the English reader. An interpretation from the heart, this illustrated translation celebrates the carefree springtime of our lives.
The original text 'Mei' is included.

'The reader is drawn almost breathlessly onward through magnificent word-groups ... full of surprising turns of phrase ... Before you know it, you'll be reading it out loud!' - Lloyd Haft, poet

'The translation has been done meticulously ... with an intensity of language which reveals intuitive clarity of vision and profound empathy ... I recommend that you begin this journey without loss of time.' - Anne Walter, editor, ex. Birmingham University
Tags:

adolescence;balder;disillusionment;dunes;dutch;flowers;germanic;holland;impressionism;mei;metaphysical;poetry;sea;spring;springtime;tachtigers;the netherlands;wonder