Writersblog

Salomon Kroonenberg

Salomon Kroonenberg, Dutch writer

The Dutch programme at the International Book Fair in Beijing was cunn... >>> read more

Kai Kang

Kai Kang, Journalist China Reading Weekly

Dear Dutch publishers. The book fair is over. Perhaps you’ll now... >>> read more

Ingrid and Dieter Schubert

Ingrid and Dieter Schubert, Dutch illustrators

The days are full and long. We are incessantly bombarded with impressi... >>> read more

Michele Hutchison

Michele Hutchison, Editor De Arbeiderspers

Arriving on the stand on the first day, I’d asked a Chinese visi... >>> read more

Michele Hutchison

Michele Hutchison, Editor De Arbeiderspers

Big excitement today since we were finally meeting with Songyu from Fl... >>> read more

Michele Hutchison

Michele Hutchison, Editor De Arbeiderspers

The traffic in Beijing is horrendous, I’m sure the other blogger... >>> read more

Thomas Möhlmann

Thomas Möhlmann, Staff member Dutch Foundation for Literature

What an evening the poets and the approximately 200 onlookers present ... >>> read more

Ingrid and Dieter Schubert

Ingrid and Dieter Schubert, Dutch illustrators

It’s now the third day, and the first one with plenty of sun. Un... >>> read more

Kai Kang

Kai Kang, Journalist China Reading Weekly

What a great opportunity to learn about the Dutch literature for Chine... >>> read more

Salomon Kroonenberg

Salomon Kroonenberg, Dutch writer

A duck flies to and fro over the vast expanses of world ocean, despera... >>> read more

Michele Hutchison

Michele Hutchison, Editor De Arbeiderspers

‘In the era of browsing, we provide reading.’ - Slogan see... >>> read more

Michele Hutchison

Michele Hutchison, Editor De Arbeiderspers

The jewel in the crown of our collection of Arbeiderspers titles publi... >>> read more

Michele Hutchison

Michele Hutchison, Editor De Arbeiderspers

The Chinese publishers I have met during the course of my career, the ... >>> read more

Salomon Kroonenberg

Salomon Kroonenberg, Dutch writer

I have so far never been to a book fair. Nor do I know what to imagine... >>> read more

Kai Kang

Kai Kang, Journalist China Reading Weekly

Since 2006, I began writing about the Netherlands’ performance a... >>> read more

Henk Pröpper

Henk Pröpper, Director Dutch Foundation for Literature

Now that the fair is just round the corner, this is perhaps the moment... >>> read more

Henk Pröpper

Henk Pröpper, Director Dutch Foundation for Literature

In two weeks’ time, the official opening of one of the largest b... >>> read more

Ramsey Nasr

Ramsey Nasr, Dutch poet

Ramsey Nasr (b. 1974, Rotterdam) is a poet and author, actor and direc... >>> read more


Herman Pleij

Herman Pleij

  • Pan Jun talks to Fik Meijer and Herman Pleij
    Date: Thu 1 September Time: 01.00 pm Venue: BIBF
  • The letters of Vincent van Gogh
    Date: Thu 1 September Time: 02.00 pm Venue: BIBF
  • Café Amsterdam I: 'Holland for beginners'
    Date: Thu 1 September Time: 7:00 pm Venue: le Café, UCCA

Life and work

Herman Pleij lectures on Dutch historical literature at the University of Amsterdam. He has previously published the bestselling Het gilde van de Blauwe Schuit (‘The Guild of the Blue Barge’, 1979), about the rituals surrounding the celebration of carnival in the Middle Ages, and the critically-acclaimed De sneeuwpoppen van 1511 (‘The Snowmen of 1511’, 1988), about the irrepressible liveliness of late-medieval cities and the fading glory of the courts.

Van karmijn, purper en blauw:over kleuren van de middeleeuwen en daarna

Contrary to the drab images of the period popularized in the media today, parades of vibrant color were on display at every level of Medieval European society. Not only did clothing sport gaudy and often clashing colors, but food, statues, animals, even hair and beards flaunted the most brazen hues. Yet not everyone revered color; many believed it to be an ephemeral, worldly deception and a sign of immorality.

Towards the end of the Medieval period, perceptions of color became emblematic of broader cultural issues. Black and blue, primarily associated with asceticism, sorrowand humility, became the colors of royalty and the urban aristocracy, while bright, flashy colors came to be associated with the devil who, it was believed, had painted the world in tempting hues to lure humanity into sin and away from the path of eternal salvation. As a result, every Godfearing person began to avoid colorful displays, choosing instead more somber shades, a preference still seen today in the blacks and dark blues of our offices and boardrooms.

Colors Demonic and Divine looks at painting, fashion, poetry, heraldry, religion and history to tell the story of Medieval attitudes to color and the profound and pervasive influence they still have on our own societies.

Translation in Chinese

  • Pleij, Herman. [Xie’e yu shensheng de secai. Zhongshiji yi zhihou de secai yunyi] Chinese / translated from English by Zhaoxia Zhang. Guangzhou: Flower City Publishing House, 2010. ISBN: 9787536060609.
  • Pleij, Herman. [(Dromen van Cocagne)] Chinese / translated from Dutch. Beijing: China Social Sciences Press, in preparation since 2010.

Titles in NLF-database

Authors