The Abduction of Europe (1993) – Cees Nooteboom

Abduction of Europa (1908) – Félix Vallotton

I’m currently reading Cees Nooteboom‘s 1993 essay bundle De Ontvoering van Europa (Eng: The Abduction of Europe), dedicated to the question of a European identity.

I read Nooteboom’s Rituelen while in my twenties and I had largely forgotten about him. It strikes me now how he is probably one of the foremost intellectual writers of Europe and also a true European in the sense that he divides his time between Amsterdam, Berlin, and the Spanish islands. Petri Liukkonen says that he “has been frequently mentioned as a candidate for the Nobel Prize in literature”.

Here is my translation of an excerpt on France’s fear of American cultural imperialism (Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Dallas and Dynasty):

… if we give Europe’s indigenous cable television moguls a chance, we will soon enough prove that we are capable of producing television series equally bad as those in America, and that the French secret weapon of MacBaudrillard and MacDerrida is wreaking just as much havoc at American universities as harmless McDonald’s in Europe.

See also: Rituals at the Existence Machine and All Soul’s Day at This Space.

P. S. : It’s interesting to note that the concept of abduction as it relates to the mythological figure of Europa is interchangeable with the terms rape and seduction. The Wikipedia article states that “the [latter] two being near-equivalent in Greek myth.” I had encountered this before when reading about Don Juan who is depicted as either a seducer, rapist or murderer, depending on who’s doing the analysis. The American Production code (the forerunner of the MPAA, the current American film rating system) said of the depiction of seduction and rape (intimately locating them in one entry): “They should never be more than suggested, and only when essential for the plot, and even then never shown by explicit method.”

Admittedly I may be influenced too much by 1990s feminist discourse in locating these similarities, but here is one more pointer: History of Rape, Abduction, and Seduction in European Art and Literature

2 thoughts on “The Abduction of Europe (1993) – Cees Nooteboom

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