Earlier is Impossible. Deep Time and Geological Posthumanism in Dutch Fiction


  • Ben De Bruyn


Contemporary Literature, Literature and Science, Literary History, Posthumanism, Deep Time


What if we radically changed the scale of our imagination as literary readers and cultural historians? Developing recent claims on behalf of the importance of a broader, planetary perspective in literary history, this article argues that the study of Dutch literature would benefit from a 'big historicism', which takes into account the age of the earth and actively reconstructs the changing literary representation of the prehistoric past and the posthuman future. More specifically, the article analyzes the role of 'deep time' in classic and contemporary forms of Dutch fiction, including novels by Willem Frederik Hermans, Dimitri Verhulst, Stephan Enter and Jeroen Brouwers.

Author Biography

Ben De Bruyn

Ben De Bruyn is a member of the University of Leuven (KULeuven)-based MDRN group and a postdoctoral researcher of the Fund for Scientific Research – Flanders (FWO). He works on theories and representations of reading, the interaction between literary culture and lifestyle practices and the imagination of space, place and planet. His first book, Wolfgang Iser. A Companion, was published by De Gruyter in 2012.




How to Cite

De Bruyn, B. (2013). Earlier is Impossible. Deep Time and Geological Posthumanism in Dutch Fiction. Journal of Dutch Literature, 4(2). Retrieved from https://www.journalofdutchliterature.org/index.php/jdl/article/view/45