Book report: Lévi Weemoedt; Lodesteijn’s disease
The main location in the beok is the haunting modern school building of a Protestant Christian school community in Vlaardingen. This municipality is described as gloomy, ugly and gray. Other buildings, such as the old wooden emergency school and the hospital where Lodesteijn is examined, also have a depressing atmosphere.
The title refers to the alleged ailment of the main character, the ancient language teacher Lodesteijn. A slightly ironic effect is achieved because a proper name in a disease often indicates the discoverer of that disease (Weil’s disease, Parkinson’s disease).
Motto / assignment
There is no motto. The book is dedicated to Karin and Oscar.
The novel has seven numbered chapters. The first chapter focuses on the opening of the new school. Then the focus shifts to Lodesteijn’s conflicts with the school management. Chapter V is devoted to the medical examinations that Lodesteijn must undergo. In chapter VI he takes a holiday in Rome. In Chapter VII he is rejected.
The story becomes, in the past tense, “personal”. told from the perspective of the main character Lodesteijn. Only a few, very short, passages are an exception to this rule.
The story is told chronologically. In about a year and a half, the suffering of Lodesteijn teacher of ancient languages unwinds. The opening of the new school building, in Chapter I, takes place at the beginning of a school year, which continues until Chapter V. Chapter VI is set during the big vacation, in Chapter VII a new school year begins. In the closing paragraphs of the novel, a leap of several years is made.
The main location is the haunting modern school building of a Protestant-Christian school community in Vlaardingen. This municipality is described as gloomy, ugly and gray. Other buildings, such as the old wooden emergency school and the hospital where Lodesteijn is examined, also have a depressing atmosphere. The big contrast with all this is the city of Rome, where Lodesteijn resides in chapter VI. He experiences this city as a relief.
The main figure is Lodesteijn, the teacher of ancient languages. His main opponent is the shortsighted, dictatorial rector Persijn. He is also surrounded by colleagues and superiors who are slightly caricatured, such as Reverend Belijn, vice principal Suverijn, physics teacher Gniffijn, gymnastics teacher Halewijn, chemistry teacher Pillecijn and janitor Bastijn. A few pupils also figure by name and surname: for example the sternly religious Janneke Schuyt, who complains about Lodesteijn to the school management. Just as authoritarian as Rector Persijn is the internist De Keijzer, who subjects Lodesteijn to a medical examination.
- illness and melancholy
- the ugliness of the modern world
- fear of life
- the inhuman nature of the medical machinery
- the hypocrisy of the ?? modern ?? Christianity
- the beauty of classical writers
- the beauty of Rome
The main theme is that it is impossible for a sensitive, intelligent person to avoid conflict in a modern Christian secondary school and, in a broader sense, that life in contemporary Dutch society is horrible and pathogenic. In an even broader sense, you can see the book as a formulation of the primal theme of the wayward loner versus the uniform mass.
Lévi Weemoedt was born Isack van Wijk in 1948 in Vlaardingen. After studying Dutch, he taught from 1971 to 1984 at a comprehensive school in Vlaardingen. He has participated in the student biad Propria Cures and a number of radio and television programs. He also published poems and stories in newspapers and magazines. He also performed for nine years with cabaret artist / writer Hans Dorrestijn.
In the stories and poetry of Lévi Weemoedt, melancholy and longing for death are important themes, often with a satirical undertone. In 1982 his poetry was bundled in Vanhartterschap, and in 1996 Zondagskind was published, a choice of more than 10 stories he wrote over the past twenty years.