European studies blog

29 December 2021

Occupied City, 1921-2021

Paul van Ostaijen wrote his poetry collection Bezette Stad (‘Occupied City’), with art work by Jesper Oscar and René Victor, in 1921. It was published by Sienjaal, set in Antwerp and written in Berlin. The Great War is the topic, and stream of consciousness is the style. The original manuscript was recently bought by the Flemish government for €725,000, and has been made available online.

In honour of the centenary of this work, I have made a visual version of the brief information above, inspired by Ostaijen’s Dada-esque style, as well as offering a bibliography of works by and about Ostaijen from the British Library’s collections.

The text of the first paragraph in Dada-inspired style with different fonts, typefaces, alignments and colours

Images of a drum and a 'boom' sound, echoing a famous phrase from Ostaijen's work, with titles of two theses and an online project cited in the bibliography below

References/further reading

Paul van Ostaijen, Bezette Stad (Antwerp, 1921), Cup.503.p.5 (Online edition of the manuscript at English translation by David Colmer, Occupied City (Ripon, 2016). YK.2017.a.540

Paul van Ostaijen, De feesten van angst en pijn  (Nijmegen, 2006) YF.2008.a.12964. English translation by Hidde Van Ameyden van Duym, Feasts of fear and agony, translated by Hidde Van Ameyden van Duym (New York, 1976). X.950/45770

Paul van Ostaijen, The first book of Schmoll: selected poems 1920-28, translated by Theo Hermans, James S. Holmes, and Peter Nijmeijer, ([Amsterdam], 1982) Cup.935/283

E.M. Beekman, Homeopathy of the absurd: the grotesque in Paul van Ostaijen’s creative prose. (The Hague, 1970), W19/5382

E.M. Beekman, Patriotism, Inc. and other tales ([Amherst], 1971), A71/5805

Gerrit Borgers, Paul van Ostaijen. (The Hague, 1971), X.909/24106.

Geert Buelens, Van Ostaijen tot heden. (Antwerp, 2001), YA.2002.a.37134

Frances Bulhof (ed.), Nijhoff, Van Ostaijen, “De Stijl” (The Hague, 1976), X:410/6582

Wright, Edward, Paul van Ostaijen, ([S.l., 196-?), YA.2003.b.2422

On the web: 

On the fringes of Dada in Berlin (Blogpost)

Besmette Stad (A multimedia  project inspired by Ostaijen’s work) 

From Occupied City to Infected City (Blogpost)

Marja Kingma, Curator Germanic Collections