E. du Perron

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E. du Perron
E. du Perron, famous and influential Indo author.
E. du Perron, famous and influential Indo author.
BornCharles Edgar du Perron
(1899-11-02)2 November 1899
Batavia, Dutch East Indies
Died14 May 1940(1940-05-14) (aged 40)
Bergen, Netherlands
OccupationWriter, journalist

Charles Edgar du Perron, more commonly known as E. du Perron, was a famous and influential Dutch poet and author of Indo-European descent.[citation needed] Best known for his literary acclaimed masterpiece Land van herkomst (Land of origin) of 1935. Together with Menno ter Braak and Maurice Roelants he founded the short-lived, but influential literary magazine Forum in 1932.

E. du Perron, born in Meester Cornelis, Batavia, Java, Dutch East Indies on 2 November 1899, and died in Bergen, North Holland, the Netherlands on 14 May 1940, descended from French aristocracy. Most probably his bloodline can be traced back to the legendary Jean Roch du Perron (Born in Bulhon, in Auvergne, France in 1756 – Died in Batavia, Dutch East Indies in 1808).[1]


His family was considered to be of the land owning upper class of Indo aristocracy in the Dutch East Indies. His father was a wealthy entrepreneur allowing for a carefree childhood of the young du Perron. In 1921 the family moved to Europe and lived in the home castle in Belgium. In his early twenties du Perron sought distraction in Paris, Brussels and cities in the Netherlands, extensively mingling with the literary and artistic crowds. He befriended famous French writer and politician Andre Malraux and produced several writings.

After the suicide of his father (1926) and death of his mother (1933) the family inheritance had gone up in smoke and du Perron (partly driven by the rise of National Socialism which he detested) returned to his land of origin in 1936. He continued to write and earned his living as a journalist and correspondent. He became the literary critic at the 'Bataviaasch Nieuwsblad' ('Batavian Newspaper'), where he befriended his fellow Indo colleagues Karel Zaalberg and Ernest Douwes Dekker. In his role as critic he also became the patron of the young Indo author Beb Vuyk. He sympathised with the Indies independence movement and became a close friend to Indonesian intellectual Sutan Sjahrir.[2]

In August 1939, at the end of a stay of nearly three years in his home country, du Perron wrote to his friend Sutan Sjahrir (now a political exile):

'[..] In any case when in Holland I pretty much have always remained the awkward stranger. Through my French heritage, Indies upbringing and childhood, and through my Dutch language and customs... At the moment some – with whom I disagree – say I have been Europeanised. But put me in the real company of (Dutch East) Indies boys and ten minutes later they will recognize me as one of them. Where I feel at home…?, I know exactly now, that after fifteen years of wandering in Europe, I came back to my country… I belong here.[..]’

In 1940 du Perron visited the Netherlands and after hearing Nazi Germany had invaded the country he died of a heart attack.[1]


His early work was strongly influenced by modernism, but he soon decided that this was not his strength. The titles of his stories and poems better represented his talent for critical reflection towards reality and a certain detachment from everyday life. Like his friend, the author Menno ter Braak, he was a great admirer of the famous writer Multatuli. But much more than Ter Braak, du Perron was in fact his cultural heir.

Du Perrons masterpiece Land of Origin (1935) is strongly influenced by Multatuli and Malraux, but rather it is a work that stands alone in Dutch literature as a true autobiographical novel. Extracts from the Dutch East Indies of his childhood are interspersed with European episodes, mostly located in Paris, where du Perron paints a sharp portrait of Europe, based on interviews with his contemporary intellectuals and artists.

The freshness of du Perrons observations and the liveliness of his imagination makes Land of origin among the best Dutch novels of the twentieth century.

E. du Perron Society[edit]

The E. du Perron Society is a literary society in the Netherlands founded in 1994. It is an association devoted to a single author and has around 70 members and an additional number of subscribers, including several universities and libraries. On the 54th commemoration of his passing 14 May 1994 in Bergen the first public meeting for members was held, who also visited his grave at the public cemetery there.

The society aims to accumulate and deepen the knowledge regarding E. du Perron, both the person and his work, and contribute to the continued appreciation of his literary, artistic and social significance.[3]

E. du Perron Prize[edit]

Every year Tilburg University also awards a cultural prize named after E. du Perron.


  • 1923 – Manuscrit trouvé dans une poche
  • 1926 – Bij gebrek aan ernst (added to in 1928 and 1932)
  • 1927 – Poging tot afstand (poem)
  • 1929 – Nutteloos verzet
  • 1930 – Parlando (poem)
  • 1931 – Voor kleine parochie
  • 1931 – Vriend of vijand
  • 1932 – Mikrochaos
  • 1933 – Tegenonderzoek
  • 1933 – Uren met Dirk Coster (essay)
  • 1934 – De smalle mens (essay)
  • 1935 – Het land van herkomst (novel)[4]
  • 1936 – Blocnote klein formaat (essay)
  • 1937 – De man van Lebak
  • 1938 – Multatuli, tweede pleidooi
  • 1939 – Schandaal in Holland
  • 1941 – De grijze dashond (poem) (with preface by Simon Vestdijk)
  • 1942 – Een grote stilte
  • 1943 – Scheepsjournaal van Arthur Ducroo
  • 1955–1959 – Verzameld werk
  • 1962–1967 – Menno ter Braak/E.d.P. Briefwisseling 1930–1940

See also[edit]

Other Indo authors[edit]



  • Snoek, Kees: E. du Perron. Het leven van een smalle mens. (Uitg. Nijgh & Van Ditmar, Amsterdam, 2005.) ISBN 90-388-6954-1


  1. ^ a b "Perron, Charles Edgard du (1899–1940)". inghist.nl.
  2. ^ Note: In 1947 Sjahrir said that Du Perron's influence on several Indonesian intellectuals was considerable and he enjoyed a great deal of respect and trust among them. More than any other "benevolent Dutchman". See: Nieuwenhuys, Rob 'Oost-Indische spiegel. Wat Nederlandse schrijvers en dichters over Indonesië hebben geschreven vanaf de eerste jaren der Compagnie tot op heden.' (Publisher: Querido, Amsterdam, 1978) P.74-77 and Scova Rigini, A.A. 'Een biografie van Beb Vuyk.' (Faculty of Humanities Dissertation, Amsterdam University, 2004. pages 88–89)
  3. ^ "E. du Perron Genootschap". edpg.nl.
  4. ^ Country of origin / E. du Perron; translated by Francis Bulhof and Elizabeth Daverman; introduction and notes by Francis Bulhof; edited by E .M. Beekman. (Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst, 1984) ISBN 0-87023-429-3

External links[edit]