Edgar du Perron (1899-1940)

The Friends of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek have enabled the Koninklijke Bibliotheek to acquire an almost complete collection of the works of E. du Perron (1899-1940) and of publications in which he was involved. This took place in 1954, when 76 books were bought from the publisher A.A.M. Stols, out of the 98 listed in the Bibliographie van de werken van Charles Edgar du Perron, compiled by F. Batten and A.A.M. Stols. New acquisitions to the collection are regularly made.

Du Perron, though seen as an author belonging to the canon of Dutch literature, was in fact a cosmopolitan writer. He grew up in the Netherlands East Indies and came to Europe in 1921, together with his parents. The family settled in Belgium, in a small chateau in Gistoux. Later on Du Perron and his second wife went to live in Paris, a city where he had already lived for a few months in 1922 and which formed the setting for his first novel, Een voorbereiding. During the recession it proved difficult for him to find work in Europe, which led to his return to the Netherlands East Indies in 1936. He worked there as a free-lance journalist for some years, returning to the Netherlands in 1939. He went to live in Bergen, a village near the sea with a large community of artists, where he died a few days after the German invasion, on 14 May 1940, the very day the Netherlands had to surrender.

At first Du Perron used his pseudonym, Duco Perkens, for almost all his work. The 1926 complete edition of his works brought this to an abrupt end: Du Perron added a postscript to commemorate the premature death of the young author. In addition he asked his closest friends to spread the news that the author had died. They must have been so convincing in their gossip that Henrik Scholte wrote an obituary for Perkens in the Dutch periodical Nederland. The cover for this first edition was designed by the painter A.C. Willink, who also drew a frontispiece for each story. The copy illustrated on the opposite page contains an additional photograph of Willink's ‘Du Perron and his muse’, a painting that has unfortunately been lost.

Bij gebrek aan ernst, zijnde de volledige werken van Duco Perkens, uitgegeven door E. du Perron. Brussel, R. Simonson, 1926. 183 pp. 19.5 x 13 cm. Edition of 500 copies. Cover illustration and frontispieces by A.C. Willink. This is no. 20. 2293 A 7

Bij gebrek aan ernst, zijnde de volledige werken van Duco Perkens, uitgegeven door E. du Perron. Brussel, R. Simonson, 1926. 183 pp. 19.5 x 13 cm. Edition of 500 copies. Cover illustration and frontispieces by A.C. Willink. This is no. 20. 2293 A 7

Literature

A. Deprez. E. du Perron. Zijn leven en zijn werk (1899-1940). Brussel 1960.