P.C. Boutens (poet)

The collection: a nearly complete collection of poetical works and translations by P.C. Boutens (1870-1943), including his own works published in limited editions
Size: c. 30 works.
Access: The books are listed in the KB Catalogue.
More information: Arno Kuipers 070-3140561 and Paul van Capelleveen 070-3140331

P.C. Boutens, Beatrijs (1942)
P.C. Boutens, Beatrijs (1942)

P.C. Boutens, Beatrijs (1942)

P.C. Boutens, Naenia: tot de nagedachtenis van Willem van Tets (1903)
P.C. Boutens, Naenia

P.C. Boutens, Naenia: tot de nagedachtenis van Willem van Tets (1903)

P.C. Boutens, Oden en fragmenten van Sapfo (1928)
P.C. Boutens, Ode en fragmenten van Sapfo

P.C. Boutens, Oden en fragmenten van Sapfo (1928)

Collection profile

The collection includes all works published by the symbolic poet P.C. Boutens (1870-1943) from 1898 on. These poetry collections, which were reprinted many times between 1900 and 1930, often had a special design, inspired by the Art nouveau and the English private press movement. First editions of his works were always issued as luxury editions, bound in vellum. Boutens’ poetry was influenced by the ‘Movement of ’80’, see, e.g., his love for neologisms. However, his verse was influenced by his philosophical convictions, especially the Greek philosopher Plato’s doctrine. Boutens was always concerned with a ‘higher reality’.

Boutens took his doctor’s degree in 1899 with a study of the Greek playwright Aristophanes and he published a series of Greek plays. Some of them he published himself in limited editions. He also privately published a number of anthologies, among others one of poems by Alfred lord Douglas, Oscar Wilde’s lover. Boutens’ homosexuality is obvious (though still concealed) in his Strofen van Andries de Hoghe (1919).

For years, Boutens was a teacher of classical languages at Noorthey boys’ school in Voorschoten. After the death of one of his pupils he wrote the eulogy Naenia: tot de nagedachtenis van Willem van Tets. It appeared in a print run of only twelve copies.

Collection history

P.C. Boutens’ works were acquired over the years. More than 50 books by and about Boutens were given to the Library by J. Keetelaer in 1987. The collection was complemented by a gift of a few rare private editions from the Literary Museum. In 1995, the KB received a copy of Naenia from the Society of Friends of the KB. It is likely that this was Boutens’ personal copy; it was elaborately decorated by Jan Toorop. This copy is available on the website as a digital highlight (https://www.kb.nl/themas/boekkunst-en-geillustreerde-boeken/naenia-en-jan-toorop)


  • Paul van Capelleveen, 'Naenia, P.C. Boutens'. In: Stijl. Bijzondere aanwinsten van de Koninklijke Bibliotheek tijdens het directoraat van Wim van Drimmelen. Den Haag/Amsterdam, 2008, p. 44-45.
  • Marieke van Delft en Clemens de Wolf, 'P.C. Boutens'. In: Vriendschap in vereniging, red. M. van Delft e.a., Den Haag, 1988, p. 112-114.
  • Marco Goud. Een ondraaglijke drukfout. De ontstaansgeschiedenis van P.C. Boutens' Naenia, gevolgd door acht brieven van Boutens aan Joh. Enschedé en Zonen, Woubrugge, 2005.
  • Dick van Halsema. 'Boutens' poëzie kon een dode geliefde goed gebruiken'. In: Vrij Nederland, jrg. 56 (1995), no. 40 (7 oktober), p. 60-61.