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Pathologies : the downfall of Johan van Vere de With

ISBN: 9781803093468
Format: Hardback
Publisher: *Seagull Books
Origin: GB
Release Date: May, 2024

Book Details

One of the first novels to openly explore gay love and eroticism, Pathologies is a lost classic that is now translated into English for the first time. At the start of the twentieth century, Jewish anti-Zionist Jacob IsraA«l de Haan led an eventful life as a poet, journalist, teacher, and lawyer in the Netherlands. His autobiographical novella Pipelines caused a storm of controversy in 1904 with its portrayal of a subject that was considered scandalous at the time–a romantic relationship between two young men. He lost his teaching job, and the entire print run was pulped. In his iconic 1908 novel Pathologies, he once again openly and radically explored the topic of homosexuality. The story centers around adolescent Johan, who lives a secluded life with his father and their elderly housekeeper in a large house. For a while, Johan has been plagued by erotic fantasies about his classmates. When, to make matters worse, he finds himself feeling attracted to his father–first in a dream, and then in real life–he grows desperate. Johan moves out, finding room and board with an older married couple in Haarlem, where he meets RenA, a young confident artist. Johan falls head-over-heels in love, and the two men enter a sadomasochistic relationship that soon begins to spiral out of control. Johan is one of world literature’s most tragic, troubled young heroes, at par with Goethe’s Werther and Dostoevsky’s Raskolnikov. His struggle to come to terms with his fantasies and desires–rife with taboos that continue to resonate today–forms the beating heart of this daring novel. Written in De Haan’s precise, lyrical prose, Pathologies has lost none of its force more than a century after it was first published.