Prof.dr. Y. van Dijk

  • Hoogleraar
  • Moderne Nederlandse literatuur en cultuur

Telephone number: +31 (0)71 527 2625
Faculty / Department: Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen, Centre for the Arts in Society, Moderne Nederlandse L&C
Office Address: Witte Singel-complex
P.N. van Eyckhof 1
2311 BV Leiden
Room number 2.01

Fields of interest

  • Digital culture
  • Materiality
  • Ethics
  • Shoah
  • Memory
  • Contemporary novels


After working five years as an assistant professor at the University of Amsterdam, I started in 2013 in Leiden as full professor of Modern Dutch Literature in a global perspective. My research interests are situated around two axes: materiality and literature on the one hand, and ethics and alterity on the other. Research on materiality and literature started with a PhD-thesis (Leegte, leegte die ademt, Vantilt 2006) on typographic blanks in modern poetry (an article on the topic is in Word and Image 27 (4) 2011). I then moved on to focus on digital literature and on digital communities (Poetics 2014, forthcoming). I have a special interest in work, like that of Tonnus Oosterhoff, in which remediation produces and problematizes cultural memory, of WO II particularly. In collaboration with Yasco Horsman I am developing and starting up a larger research project on media, technology and Dutch literature 1800-2010.

Shoah-representations play a role too in my other research activities, in which I focus on the oeuvre of Dutch jewish author Arnon Grunberg. Questions of memory, ethics and alterity have been addressed in various publications and will be further discussed in a monograph on Grunberg's work (Forthcoming in 2014). Currently, I am working with Vic van de Reijt and Marc Schaevers on a catalogue for the occasion of the Grunberg exhibition in Amsterdam in autumn 2014.

Teaching activities

Teaching in the Dutch department takes a comparative stance, focusing on modern Dutch prose and poetry in a European and global perspective. In the second term of 2013-2014 for example, a course on Shoah representations in art and literature will focus on both Dutch texts and international movies, art and literature. In the first term of 2014-2015, I will teach with Ernst van Alphen on Shoah, memory and trauma in the Research master Literary Studies.

PhD-students Lisanne Snelders and Rik Spanjers (UvA) both focus on representations of memory and conflict too, Inge van der Ven (UU) writes on monumental novels and the archive, whereas Emma de Vries (University Leiden, LUCAS) studies neo-epistolary culture in the digital age. 
Marije Groos is finishing her dissertation at LUCAS on engagement in the literary journals of the 1950's. I will be happy to talk about thesis- or PhD projects in the fields of contemporary Dutch literature, media, technology and literature and questions of cultural memory, ethics and engagement.

Curriculum vitae

Yra van Dijk (1970) is full professor in Modern Dutch Literature in a global perspective at Leiden University. Her PhD (University of Amsterdam) on blanks and silences in modern poetry was published as a monograph (2006) and in Word and image. Van Dijk worked in Paris (2000-2004), and at the University of Amsterdam (2006-2013) and was a visiting scholar at UCSD in 2010, studying digital communities for the HERA-project ELMCIP (Poetics, forthcoming) Publications and teaching focus on intertextuality (Draden in het donker, Vantilt 2012), ethics and memory, (Reconsidering the Postmodern: European Literature Beyond Relativism. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2011, edited in collaboration with Thomas Vaessens). Shoah-memory and ethics are at the core of the monograph Van Dijk is currently preparing on the work of the German-Dutch author Arnon Grunberg (forthcoming, 2014). Since 2000, she writes reviews and essays for the book section of NRC-Handelsblad.

Key publications

  • Leegte, leegte die ademt. Het typografisch wit in de moderne poëzie. Nijmegen: Vantilt. 2006.
  • ‘Uitblinken in overleven. De erfenis van de Shoah bij Arnon Grunberg’ . In: De wereld als poppenkast. Het leven volgens Arnon Grunberg. Johan Goud (red,). Kampen, 2010.
  • Yra van Dijk, ‘Reading the form. The function of typographic blanks in modern poetry’. In: Word and Image. 27 (4), 2011. Pp. 407-415.
  • Yra van Dijk, ‘A Performance of Reality. Handwriting and paper in digital literature’. In: Journal of Dutch Literature, Winterissue 2012.
  • Thomas Vaessens and Yra van Dijk (eds.), Reconsidering the Postmodern: European Literature Beyond Relativism. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2011.
  • Yra van Dijk, Maarten De Pourcq en Carl de Strycker (eds): Draden in het donker. Intertekstualiteit in theorie en praktijk. Nijmegen, Vantilt, 2012.
  • Don’t lurk too long’. Art and Creativity in a Digital Community’: Forthcoming in Poetics, 2014.
  • ‘Picking up the pieces. History and memory in European digital literature’, in: Marcel Cornis-Pope, Literature and Multimedia in late 20th and 21st Century Europe. In the John Benjamins Press Series on Histories of Literatures in European Languages. Forthcoming.
  • ‘The margins of bookishness. Paratexts in digital literature’. In: Nadine Desrochers and Daniel Apollon (eds.): Examining Paratextual Theory and its Applications in Digital Culture, IGI Global. Forthcoming

Last Modified: 10-12-2015