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Dutch literature’s “bad boy” Jan Cremer dies aged 84 –



Jan Cremer in 1969. Photo: Joost Evers / Anefo via National Archive and Wikimedia Commons

Dutch writer and artist Jan Cremer has died at the age of 84, his publisher Bezige Bij has said.

Cremer, who is considered one of Dutch literature’s “bad boys”, shot to fame in the the sixties with his three-volume autobiographical novel I, Jan Cremer (1964).

Book one, in which Cremer elaborates on his rebellious youth, his sexual conquests and his disdain for social norms, became a huge success. Writer W.F. Hertmans said it was “a explosive collision between autobiography and mythomania. I read it in one sitting”. Others compared his work to American author Jack Kerouac’s On the Road.

Some of the stuffier critics were less kind, objecting to the explicit sex scenes. “I just wrote a good book, one that I would want to read myself,” he said later. “The same goes for my paintings, it’s the kind of thing I like to look at”.

Part II and III were published in 1971 and 2009 respectively but were not as well received, nor was his book De Hunnen (the Huns, 1998), which tells the story of the people of Eastern Europe who were recruited to work in the textile mills of his native Enschedé.

In the Odyssee series, started in 2016, Cremer explored his father’s war past and revisited his love affair with model Loesje Hamel.

Cremer also worked as a travel writer. He lived for a time in New York and Paris and lately divided his time between Amsterdam and Tuscany.

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