In the Netherlands we have an expression: when someone receives too much praise and attention, and becomes annoyingly arrogant or puffed-up as a result of this, he or she is “over het paard getild” or “lifted over the horse”.
Our opinion is that the same can often be said about works of literature and other forms of art. Think about it: how many times have you not been talked into reading a book or watching a play, by a teacher, a professor, a friend, or through media, that actually turned out to be not that wonderful as they said it would be? That turned out to be boring as fuck, had the most annoying characters ever, the most cringing plot holes, or underlying messages that simply pissed you off? That led you to conclude: I hate this piece of shit. Well… that’s what we often thought anyway…
And who are “we”, you might ask? We’re a group of (former) students from Groningen, a little university town in the barren north of the Netherlands. All kind of deprived from a dazzling career in the wonderful world of language, art, and/or literature due to the failing economy. Forced into lame and ill paid jobs at callcenters, shops, cleaning companies, and dusty offices where our brains slowly started to turn into pulp.
So we decided to create our own jobs, the result of which can be found on this website. In our blogs we explore these highly over appreciated and praised novels, poems, plays, and their far too numerous to count adaptations to pinpoint what it is exactly that annoys us so much about them. What it is in these works exactly that makes them so “lifted over the horse”…
R-man studies art history in some backwater town where bicycles are more numerous than people. There, he flees into imaginary realms and elaborate self-made constructs of how one could read books and is still waiting for his Hogwarts letter.
Lars Sanders studied history at the University of Groningen and specialised in the history of post-war Germany. Is addicted to fine prose and has a keen interest in representations of the devil and what Ian Kershaw once punningly classified as the lunatic fringe of politics.
Gabrielle Pinkster (a.k.a. The Reading Dutchwoman) studied English Language and Culture at the University of Groningen and specialised in early 20th century literature and poetry. Like most (former) students of literature she is ‘currently working on her novel’.
Johanna Feenstra, or Shizuka, studied English Language and Culture at the University of Groningen and is currently enrolled to the Research Master in Classical, Medieval, and Renaissance Studies. She loves to read, is an absolute tea-addict, and is interested in the Medieval period and the position of women in ‘any’ society or time period.
Thomas illustrates R-man’s Harry Potter blogs and designed our logo and site header. He has a passion for classical literature, indie comics, and antique cookbooks. Decided to keep his mouth shut about it and let visuals do the talking.
Hutkippy (Paul Meis) studied the Americas at the University of Groningen. He reads books, writes short stories, draws pictures, reviews movies, and goes on long romantic walks by himself. Doesn’t always refer to himself in the third person.
You might wonder why some of our names sound like we’re a bunch of 14-year olds who decided to use a really lame internet alias. Well, in some cases we probably first came up with those names when we were fourteen. There is, however, another factor: we are Dutch, and, as it is with Dutch names, most of them are rendered unpronounceable in any foreign language. So, for the benefit of recognisability and to be able to reproduce our names without going mad, the lame internet aliases. You think you’re up to the challenge? Try reproducing age-old Dutch names like Jildou, Claes, IJsbrandt, Gerhard, Fieke, Fardau, or Jan. Please, don’t try this at home, for the benefit of your sanity and the muscles in your mouth.
Read our blogs here