Promotie Jesseka Batteau: Literature and the Performance of Post-Religious Memory in The Netherlands: Gerard Reve, Jan Wolkers and Maarten ’t Hart

My thesis investigates the complex relations between literature, authorial performance and material culture during the 1960s and 1970s in The Netherlands. With Gerard Reve (1923-2006), Jan Wolkers (1925-2007) and Maarten ‘t Hart (1944-) as my case studies, I analyze the way in which their texts and performances served as media of cultural memory in the construction of post-religious identities. I argue that these authors became sites where secular and religious differences were negotiated and new identities emerged. Importantly, the three writers functioned as transitional figures for those many people who were in the process of leaving their religious past behind. By embodying religious tradition and discourse while at the same time representing a break with this past (’t Hart and Wolkers) or by enacting an individualized engagement with the religious milieu de mémoire (Reve) these writers became mediators of a new phase in Dutch society, allowing their audiences to gradually adapt to their post-religious condition.