Bart Hageraats 1950-2014
He studied history at the University of Amsterdam and in 1988 published De stoelendans rond Jan Romein about the contested appointment of Romein as professor at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). On 14 December 2012 he took his PhD at the UvA for his thesis De mens is het verwandlungsdier. Elias Canetti over verwandlung, massa en meer, reflecting several years of intensive research on the philosophical background and contemporary significance of one of the most unfathomable writers of the 20th century. The book conveys Bart’s almost infinite erudition and his encyclopaedic approach to his topic.
Bart forged his special bond with the IISH in the early 1990s, when he initiated and edited the collection ‘Geloof niet wat geschiedschrijvers zeggen…’ Honderd jaar Jan Romein 1893-1993 (1995) issued by Stichting beheer IISG (later Aksant publishers) the publishing company of the IISH. Operating as a freelance editor, he was involved in a great many publications of the IISH and the Stichting beheer IISG/Aksant since then, as an exceptionally meticulous and erudite desk editor, compiler of registers, bibliographer, always eager to think along with authors and editors.
From his initial encounter with the IISH (via the archive of Jan Romein), he soon became part of that small group that even without being employed by the Institute was closely involved in the material and immaterial heritage that the IISH manages, as well as with the people working at the Institute. This was also the case when the Friends of the IISH was founded in 1999: Bart agreed to serve as secretary (without pay) to the board, an office he continued to perform with his distinctive rigour and dedication until his very premature death.
One memorable achievement was the special Friends Day Bart organized on 7 January 2010 in recognition of the publication of the collection he edited Kijken naar natuur. Sprong uit de moraal? He delighted the IISH Friends and staff present to three lectures and a musical interlude about his other great intellectual passion: how nature and perceptions of nature, especially owls, have mirrored our culture for many centuries. True to his own nature, Bart remained modestly in the background on that cold afternoon in January, while the entire gathering radiated his intense passion for both nature study and the world of books. Never again will an owl appear the same to us.
Author: Aad Blok