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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:History in novels and memoirs: Alfons Vermeulen on rural Congo (1899-1904)
Author:Vansina, JanISNI
Periodical:History in Africa (ISSN 1558-2744)
Geographic terms:Congo (Republic of)
Congo (Democratic Republic of)
historical sources
About person:Alfons Vermeulen
Abstract:The Dutchman Alfons Vermeulen (1877-1965), who worked as an agent for the Nieuwe Afrikaansche Handels Vennootschap in the two Congos, published a novel about his life as a trader in a Congo town, which was entitled 'De pioniersdagen van Chicongo: een verhaal uit het pioniersleven in den Congo' (1933). He also left drafts about the same subject for his memoirs when he died in 1965. This essay systematically compares both documents using the rules of evidence and concludes that although it does not appear to be so on the surface, the novel distorts the evidence considerably more than the memoirs. At the same time though, both documents are equally deeply affected by the spirit of the time of their composition. Hence the author argues that the combined evidence of both documents together is not only richer but also more reliable than their separate use. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]