year: 1979
duration: 40 min

Portrait of the Dutch writer Carry van Bruggen (1881-1932) with her work as a starting point.

When in 1924 the Literature Museum (in development) asked Carry van Bruggen for photographs, manuscripts or other personal material, she wrote quite a stern letter back. She rejected that kind of person-worship; her photographs were for her family and her manuscripts disappeared into the trash after they were published. What she found worthwhile is in her books and her articles. So we have to settle for that.
There are articles and books about her, facts and dates are known.
In old municipal reports, you can find her name when she was appointed as a teacher at school no. 93. That school is still there – but will soon be demolished – and there are also houses where she lived. Are we getting any closer?
Our only starting point is her work. She wrote for all kinds of newspapers and magazines, but that can only be found in archives. What can still be found are her books. For example:
Heleen, written in 1913, the first book that Carry van Bruggen herself was happy with. You could call it a description of the emotional life of a woman who is intensely searching for the meaning of everything;
A Coquette Woman (1915), about a woman- married to a journalist -who also starts writing and doesn’t just want to succumb to tradition. She also has that attitude towards other things in life, and that causes conflicts.
Prometheus (1919), a philosophical work on individualism and literature, for which Carry van Bruggen received no thanks: since when were former teachers able to write about philosophy?
The Cottage by the Ditch (1921), about daily life in a Jewish family, in a village community of dissenters;
Eva (1927), her last book, philosophy in the guise of literature, about a woman looking for her place in the world and looking for herself. About someone who makes choices and eventually finds a kind of answer. A book with so many associations and mental leaps that any brief description becomes slightly nonsensical.

When you read the books of Carry van Bruggen, you realise they have a lot to do with her own life. Main characters from books are pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that eventually produce an image of Carry van Bruggen herself. And people who are sensitive to the image of a door from 1903, a brick wall or an old school, are offered a few pieces of the puzzle in this broadcast. So watch and listen, and another evening turn off the television and get a book to find out for yourself.

Kees Coolen, Netty Blanken and Josée Ruiter

screenplay & directing: Digna Sinke
camera: Fred Mekenkamp
sound: Piet Roodenburg
editing: Ot Louw
organisation: Hans Nieman
producer: Carla van Sandwijk
commissioning editor: Jan Venema

Beeldspraak 18 December 1979 22.15-22.55 on Nederland 1 NOS