Rob van Gennep, publisher

06 September 2016 - 13:40

Rob van Gennep was the publisher of the political left in the Netherlands in the 70s. Geke van der Wal has now written his biography.

This biography is an unadorned and clear story about his difficult youth, his exuberant and numerous love interests and of course his life as an enthusiastic publisher.

That career began in 1962 together with Johan Polak, who brought in assets, and Jaap Jansen. Publisher Polak and Van Gennep started with the literary magazine Merlyn (1962-1966), a great success, and bought three bookstores. In 1966 the store at the Spui in Amsterdam was added.

The fund list became more committed and more political in the course of the 1960s. In 1968 the series Kritiese Bibliotheek saw the light of day. In the same year the Bolivian diary of Che Guevara ran from the presses. In this period, politics also drove Johan Polak and Rob van Gennep apart.

In 1970 Van Gennep started to move on the erotic (literary) market. For schoolchildren, in 1971, he devised The Other Agenda, which contained the comic strip "Jan Lul en zijn vrienden" and did not fall well everywhere. De Schaamte Voorbij by Anja Meulenbelt was a hit in 1977, Günther Wallraf's I, Ali in 1985, György Konrád in the late 1980s.

Rob van Gennep got the muscle disease ALS and died on April 13, 1994.

A small addition to this formidable book: Van Gennep also collaborated with the IISH. An editorial team from the Institute provided the series "De Nederlandse Arbeidersbeweging (The Dutch Workers' Movement)", at a time when the history of the movement was still one big white open space. Between 1979 and 1985, 16 volumes were published, including the overview of De Nederlandse archieven van het IISG.

Geke van der Wal was of course often found in the IISH Study Room - 'that institution can not be praised enough' to plow through Van Gennep's archive (1962-1997).

IISH Collections | Bookblog | Rob van Gennep - Photo by Atlas Contact