Adriaan van der Hoop’s adaptation of Victor Hugo’s Han d’Islande. A Dutch (melo)drama?

Jan Oosterholt


In research on early nineteenth-century Dutch literature, the idea predominates that genres such as the gothic novel and melodrama did not feature, or only seldom featured, in the Netherlands. Only much later would this change, and Dutch melodrama has thus been described as a ‘belated phenomenon’. However, is this really the case? We know already that these genres were discussed and read in translation and the example of Van der Hoop’s Han van IJsland, a theatrical adaptation of Victor Hugo’s debut novel, shows that gothic and melodramatic traditions can also be traced in original texts. Applying Peter Brooks’ concept of the ‘melodramatic mode’ (a mode of ‘excess’) can be useful when understanding theatrical texts like Van der Hoop’s adaptation, but possibly also for other genres.


melodramatic mode / melodrama; gothic novel / griezelroman; theatrical adaptation / theateradaptatie; Victor Hugo; Adriaan van der Hoop

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