Patricia Highsmith, Edgar Allen Poe, Julian Barnes, Marie Koenen

De Amerikaanse schrijfster Patricia Highsmith werd geboren als Mary Patricia Plangman in Fort Worth (Texas) op 19 januari 1921.  Highsmiths’ eerste boek Strangers on a Train (Vreemden in de trein) uit 1950 werd drie keer verfilmd, onder anderen door door Alfred Hitchcock in 1951. Haar tweede boek The Price of Salt speelt zich af in het bekrompen Amerika van de jaren ’50. Tom Ripley is haar bekendste personage. Ripley liet ze in totaal vijf boeken opdraven. Het eerste boek waarin hij verscheen was The Talented Mr. Ripley. In 1960 werd dit boek verfilmd als Plein Soleil door René Clément met Alain Delon in de rol van Tom Ripley. In 1999 werd het boek nogmaals verfilmd door Anthony Minghella met Matt Damon als Ripley. In totaal heeft Patricia Highsmith tweeëntwintig romans en zeven boeken met korte verhalen op haar naam staan


Uit: The Talented Mr. Ripley


‘Charley Schriever told me you were in the insurance business,’ Mr Greenleaf said pleasantly.

‘That was a little while ago. I–‘ But he didn’t want to say he was working for the Department of Internal Revenue, not now. ‘I’m in the accounting department of an advertising agency at the moment.’


Neither said anything for a minute. Mr Greenleaf’s eyes were fixed on him with a pathetic, hungry expression. What on earth could he say? Tom was sorry he had accepted the drink. ‘How old is Dickie now, by the way?’ he asked.

‘He’s twenty-five.’

So am I, Tom thought, Dickie was probably having the time of his life over there. An income, a house, a boat. Why should he want to come home? Dickie’s face was becoming clearer in his memory: he had a big smile, blondish hair with crisp waves in it, a happy-go-lucky face. Dickie was lucky. What was he himself doing at twenty-five? Living from week to week. No bank account. Dodging cops now for the first time in his life. He had a talent for mathematics. Why in hell didn’t they pay him for it, somewhere? Tom realized that all his muscles had tensed, that the matchcover in his fingers was mashed sideways, nearly flat. He was bored, God-damned bloody bored, bored, bored! He wanted to be back at the bar, by himself.

Tom took a gulp of his drink. ‘I’d be very glad to write to Dickie, if you give me his address,’ he said quickiy. ‘I suppose he’ll remember me. We were at a weekend party once out on Long Island, I remember. Dickie and I went out and gathered mussels, and everyone had them for breakfast.’ Tom smiled. ‘A couple of us got sick, and it wasn’t a very good party. But I remember Dickie talkingthat week-end about going to Europe. He must have left just–‘

‘I remember!’ Mr Greenleaf said. ‘That was the last weekend Richard was here. I think he told me about the mussels.’ He laughed rather loudly.

‘I came up to your apartment a few times, too,’ Tom went on, getting into the spirit of it. ‘Dickie showed me some ship models that were sitting on a table in his room.’

‘Those are only childhood efforts!’ Mr Greenleaf was beaming. ‘Did he ever show you his frame models? Or his drawings?’
Dickie hadn’t, but Tom said brightly, ‘Yes! Of course he did. Pen-and-ink drawings. Fascinating, some of them.’ Tom he’d never seen them, but he could see them now, precise draughtsman’s drawings with every line and bolt and screw labelled, could see Dickie smiling, holding them up for him to look at, and he could have gone on for several minutes describing details for Mr Greenleaf’s delight, but he checked himself.


Patricia Highsmith (19 januari 1921 – 4 februari 1995)


De Amerikaanse schrijver Edgar Allen Poe werd geboren op 19 januari 1809 in Boston. Zie ook mijn blog van 19 januari 2007.


Uit: The Tell-Tale Heart


TRUE!–NERVOUS–very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am! but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses–not destroyed–not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily–how calmly I can tell you the whole story.

It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once conceived, it haunted me day and night. Object there was none. Passion there was none. I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire. I think it was his eye! yes, it was this! He had the eye of a vulture–a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees–very gradually–I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever.

Now this is the point. You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen me. You should have seen how wisely I
proceeded–with what caution–with what foresight–with what dissimulation I went to work!”


Edgar Allen Poe (19 januari 1809 – 7 oktober 1849)


De Engelse schrijver Julian Barnes werd geboren op 19 januari 1946 in Leicester. Zie ook mijn blog van 19 januari 2007.


Uit: Arthur and George


A child wants to see. It always begins like this, and it began like this then. A child wanted to see.

He was able to walk, and could reach up to a door handle. He did this with nothing that could be called a purpose, merely the instinctive tourism of infancy. A door was there to be pushed; he walked in, stopped, looked. There was nobody to observe him; he turned and walked away, carefully shutting the door behind him.

What he saw there became his first memory. A small boy, a room, a bed, closed curtains leaking afternoon light. By the time he came to describe it publicly, sixty years had passed. How many internal retellings had smoothed and adjusted the plain words he finally used? Doubtless it still seemed as clear as on the day itself. The door, the room, the light, the bed, and what was on the bed: a ‘white, waxen thing’.

A small boy and a corpse: such encounters would not have been so rare in the Edinburgh of his time. High mortality rates and cramped circumstances made for early learning. The household was Catholic, and the body that of Arthur’s grandmother, one Katherine Pack. Perhaps the door had been deliberately left ajar. There might have been a desire to impress upon the child the horror of death; or, more optimistically, to show him that death was nothing to be feared. Grandmother’s soul had clearly flown up to Heaven, leaving behind only the sloughed husk of her body. The boy wants to see? Then let the boy see.”


Julian Barnes (Leicester,  19 januari 1946)



De Nederlandse schrijfster Marie Koenen werd geboren in ’s-Hertogenbosch op 19 januari 1879. Zie ook mijn blog van 19 januari 2007.


Op meisjes in de rondedans (Dansliedje)


Op, meisjes, in de rondedans,

Nu weeft een bonte bloemenkrans

En slingert in de rijen.

Wij zijn zo jong, ons hart is blij,

Dat is zo groot verblijen.

Wij zijn zo jong, ons hart is blij,

Dat is zo groot verblijen.


Op, meisjes, zingt een blijde wijs,

De wereld is een paradijs,

Wij dansen en wij zweven.

Wij zijn zo jong, ons hart is blij,

Dat is een vrolijk leven.

Wij zijn zo jong, ons hart is blij,

Dat is een vrolijk leven.


Op, mensen, zingt en danst als wij,

Komt, sluit u in de bonte rij

En zingt langs alle wegen.

Wij zijn zo jong, ons hart is blij,

Dat is een grote zegen.

Wij zijn zo jong, ons hart is blij,

Dat is een grote zegen.

Tekst: Marie Koenen / Muziek: Jos. Reckers


Marie Koenen  (19 januari 1879 – 11 juli 1959)