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Document Details :
Title: Pupil of adept?
Subtitle: De pupil van Harry Mulisch als alchemistische allegorie
Author(s): VAN OUDVORST, A.F.
Journal: Spiegel der Letteren
Volume: 48 Issue: 1 Date: 2006
Harry Mulisch has never made a secret of his interest in occult thinking. His predilection for alchemistic and other symbolical systems makes him akin to the historical movement called Symbolism, to which his work has been showing an increasing affinity since the seventies. This also accounts for the growing hermetism of his fiction. The Five Fables, published in the eighties, form no exception. The Pupil, Mulisch’s favorite book, may be read as an alchemistic allegory about the secret origin of his authorship. And although the alchemistic symbolism can be found in the smallest details, hitherto critics have paid no attention to the occult undertone in this short story. This article aims at explaining a number of characters, motives and other elements of the story with the help of the alchemistic doctrine. Two collections of emblems from the 16th and 17th centuries play an important part in this.