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Conrad Busken Huet

Conrad Busken Huet (1826-1886) was one of the leading literary critics in the 19th-century Netherlands. He is not mentioned here as the editor of a particular literary review, but for the importance of his contribution to literary opinion making through articles published in different journals and reviews.

Beginning as a Protestant minister in Haarlem (1851), he became more and more involved in literary criticism and from 1859 published in different periodicals. From 1862 to 1865 he participated in the editorial board of De Gids. But, an independent mind, he created enemies, and even went to the Dutch East Indies, where he published in the Java-bode, and in 1873 founded his Algemeen Dagblad van Nederlandsch Indië. After eight years, in 1876, he came back to Europe, but preferred to settle in Paris, from where Busken Huet – an admirer of Sainte-Beuve – continued to write about Dutch literature: continuously comparing Dutch authors to their European counterparts, whom he often presented as superior.

At the end of his life, in 1881, he started publishing an impressing selection of his articles in the 25 volumes entitled: Literarische Fantasiën en Kritieken (LFK, Literary Fantasies and Critiques; 1881-1888). Fortunately the text of these volumes is accessible online at the DBNL, so that direct links could be established. Olf Praamstra identifies LFK-articles in an appendix to his monograph on this critic.

Busken Huet was rather concerned with women’s writing (he was in contact with several Dutch female authors), and his articles will need to be used by those interested in the matter, even more because he is comparing Dutch and foreign women writers.


  • Olf Praamstra, Gezond verstand en goede smaak, de kritieken van Conrad Busken Huet. Amstelveen, 1991.
  • Willem van den Berg, “La littérature du XIXe siècle”, in Hanna Stouten, Jaap Goedegebuure, Frits van Oostrom (eds.), Histoire de la littérature néerlandaise. Paris, Fayard, 1991, p. 448-451: “Busken Huet”
  • Olf Praamstra, Busken Huet. Een biografie. SUN, 2007.

SvD, September 2007

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  • Sources > Dutch sources > Articles in the press > Conrad Busken Huet

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