Georges Duhamel had a short-lived career as a typesetter for the writer's circle L'Abbaye de Créteil. He would later become a successful literary critic, poet and playwright. During World War I- in which he performed over 2300 operations and cared for 4000 wounded as a doctor- he first established himself as a novelist. His work was characterised by its indefatigable idealism. He testified to the moral collapse of his time in voluminous cycles of novels such as Vie et aventures de Salavin (1920-1932) and Chronique des Pasquier (1932-1945).
His work is generously represented in the Koopman Collection, mainly in deluxe editions on special paper, which in most cases bear personal dedications written by the author during his lecturing tours of the Netherlands. Koopman remembered the many occasions on which he discussed Duhamel's work with his fiancée Anny Antoine. They admired his compassion and his natural writing style.
In Géographie cordiale de l'Europe, Duhamel wrote about Europe with affection: Greece, Finland and the Netherlands. Duhamel wrote that an archangel had visited the Netherlands to gain an impression of the works of God: the country was clean and orderly, the inhabitants looked happy and wise, in short: creation was a resounding success. But God complained that this happened to be the only place in the world he had hardly touched himself. Duhamel added that he also saw a different country when he looked at the Netherlands: the harbours of Rotterdam, which were far from idyllic, the destitute prostitution districts and the Amsterdam ghetto.
The chapter 'Suite hollandaise' had previously been published separately in 1925 by Éditions du Sablier, the publishing house of his former friend at the Abbaye, René Arcos. Six years later, the publication of Géographie cordiale de l'Europe was also in safe hands: Mercure de Paris, the publisher directed at the time by Duhamel's good friend Alfred Valette. The publications appeared in first editions of a few thousand copies.
|Description:||Géographie cordiale de l'Europe / Georges Duhamel. - Paris : Mercure de France, 1931. - 279 p. : ill. ; 18 cm|
|Printer:||Marc Texier (Poitiers)|
|This copy:||Number 119 of 220 on Dutch Van Gelder|
|Bookbinder:||National library of the Netherlands|
|Shelfnumber:||Koopm A 218|
- Arlette Lafay, La sagesse de Georges Duhamel. Paris, Minard, 1984
- Le Mercure de France: Cent un ans d’éditions. Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, 1995
- Louis Koopman: Anny Antoine, sa vie, nos conversations littéraires. [Amsterdam, L.J. Koopman], 1968
- Clemens de Wolf, '"Zoo'n Duhamel bv. vind ik, literair en menschelijk, een lapzwans'. Iets over het lezen van Franse literatuur in Nederland omstreeks 1930', in: Lezen in de Lage Landen. Studies over tien eeuwen leescultuur. Hilversum, Verloren, 2017, p. 197-203