The princess of Jan Jacob Slauerhoff
Writer Jacob Slauerhoff studied medicine but didn’t participate in conventional student life. He preferred a more bohemian-like, aloof position, modelled after his heroes: French symbolic poets Baudelaire, Verlaine, Corbière and Rimbaud.
As he had little friends and a lot of enemies in the closed circle of health-care, he had a hard time getting work in the Netherlands. Therefore he decided to become a ship’s doctor, and travelled to China, Hong Kong, Macau and Japan.
From 1929 on, Slauerhoff stayed in Holland more often and worked as an assistant at Utrecht University. In September 1930, he married ballet dancer and teacher Darja Collin, which marked the start of a short happy period in his life.
The couple had a child together, but it died at birth, which gave Slauerhoff a heavy depression. Periods of travels and depressed returns would alternate, but the depression won and his relation with Collin suffered.
On his last trip he became severely ill from malaria and neglected tuberculosis and returned to the Netherlands, where he died on October 5th, shortly after his 38th birthday and three months after the publication of his last collection of poems: ‘An Honourable Seaman’s Grave’.
He wrote romans (‘The Forbidden Kingdom’ and ‘Life on Earth’), drama (‘Jan Pieterszoon Coen’) and poetry (‘Archipel’, ‘Eldorado’ and ‘Only in My Poems Can I Dwell’).
In the short film, Slauerhoff’s poem about the ‘For the Far Princess’ is read out loud by Boris van den Wijngaard as part of the theatre production by Salon Saffier.
More info: www.salonsaffier.nl