Zarathustra in Surinam: Albert Helman’s Prophecy of the ‘New Man’ in Zuid-Zuid-West (1926)


  • Jeroen Dewulf


Albert Helman, José Vasconcelos, Friedrich Nietzsche, New Man, Miscegenation, Mestizaje, Surinam


The philosophical novel Zuid-Zuid-West (South-Southwest, 1926) by the Dutch-Surinamese author Albert Helman (1903-1996) is famous for the sharp critique of Dutch colonial policy in its epilogue. The remaining part of this novel has traditionally received little attention. This is all the more surprising since Zuid-Zuid-West represents one of the first examples of the turn towards ‘mestizaje’ in Latin American literature. By comparing Helman’s Zuid-Zuid-West with José Vasconcelos’s prophecy of the ‘new man’ in La raza cósmica (The Cosmic Race, 1925), this article intends to highlight how these Latin American intellectuals attempted to concretize Friedrich Nietzsche’s prophecy of the ‘new man’ in the shape of the multiracial ‘mestizo’.

Author Biography

Jeroen Dewulf

Jeroen Dewulf is Queen Beatrix Professor in Dutch Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. He holds a PhD in German Literature from the University of Bern (Switzerland). He has been a visiting professor at the University of São Paulo and the Federal University of Ceará, in Brazil. He publishes in five different languages (English, Dutch, German, Portuguese and French). His most recent book publications are Brasilien mit Brüchen: Schweizer unter dem Kreuz des Südens (Zürich: Verlag der Neuen Zürcher Zeitung, 2007) and Spirit of Resistance: Dutch Clandestine Literature during the Nazi Occupation (Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2010).




How to Cite

Dewulf, J. (2012). Zarathustra in Surinam: Albert Helman’s Prophecy of the ‘New Man’ in Zuid-Zuid-West (1926). Journal of Dutch Literature, 3(1). Retrieved from