Wandelingen door Rome

By Godfried Bomans

Het is vrij eenvoudig om van een losbol te houden en inderdaad ontmoeten zij ook overal sympathie. Maar om een heilige aardig te vinden, betaalt u de prijs van zelfverwijt.

  • Author: Godfried Bomans
  • Publisher: Elsevier
  • Published: MCMLVII
  • Pages: 216

On the basis of this quote alone one would be justified to style the great Dutch author Godfried Bomans the Chesterton of the Low Countries.

Unfortunately, Bomans has never really worked out his thoughts — sometimes it seems as if he were almost afraid to investigate the things that people usually call serious, and he could never resist the temptation to be merely flippant, instead of witty.

Which is a pity, since Bomans possessed wit in spades — as the seven volumes of his collected (though not complete) works testify.

Wandelingen door ROME is a collection of about twenty essays he appears to have written while living in Rome. Some of those, like De keerzijde van Rome are sublime; others, like Waarheden als koeien peter out, go nowhere in particular.

It is nowhere as famous a book as Eric of het klein insectenboek or his fairy tales. But Bomans, a devout Roman Catholic, spends quite a bit of time in this book on his religion, and especially on the Pope of his days, Pius X, whom he loved deeply. That makes this collection of impressions — essays is too big a word — valuable for me at least.

Oh, and the translation of the teaser? It’s quite easy to love a rake, and indeed, rakes are universally beloved. But in order to like a Saint, you must pay in self-reproach.(And, yes, the original is snappier. Learn Dutch…