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The hunt for popular prose; the correspondence between J. F. M. Scheepers and M. Buisman, from 1929 until 1942

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This study deals with two notable Dutch book collectors: Johannes F. M. Scheepers (1893-1942) and his friend Michiel Buisman (1891-1986), two men of simple origin. Since their meeting in 1929, they applied themselves, in a spirit of friendly rivalry, to the study of an area of Dutch bibliophily which had hitherto been ignored: the so-called popular prose of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Relying on the pioneer work of the Amsterdam firm of Frederik Muller & Co., Scheepers and Buisman, despite modest means, assembled an enormous collection which was to form the basis of Buisman's bibliography Populaire Prozaschrijvers van 1600 tot 1815 (Amsterdam 1960). From the more than 200 remaining letters which Scheepers wrote to Buisman, we gain an impression of the way in which these two men actually set about their work. We learn of their lucky finds, their criticism of the notable scholars of literature and their growing self-awareness. The Dutch world of antiquarian bookshops and auctioning between the wars is also reflected in the correspondence. Scheepers's death in a German concentration camp abruptly ended the pact between these two men.


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