Reshaping Remembrance ~ And The Greatest Is … N.P. van Wyk Louw
In the detective novel Orion (2000) by Deon Meyer there is a number of references to N.P. van Wyk Louw. His poem ‘Die hond van God’ (God’s dog) is mentioned in the same breath as the novel Sewe dae by die Silbersteins (Seven days at the Silbersteins) by Etienne Leroux: ‘the reading and discussion of “Die hond van God” by Van Wyk Louw continued all through the night until Sunday afternoon after lunch’.[i] The purpose of this reference is to demonstrate the cultural interest of the mother of Zatopek van Heerden, a police detective and the main character in the novel, and consequently of explaining Zatopek’s exposure to intellectual stimuli. Van Wyk Louw’s poem ‘Ballade van die nagtelike ure’ (Ballad of the night-time hours) also features prominently in Orion. Three stanzas from the poem are quoted. When listening to his older mistress reciting the poem, Zatopek realizes ‘for the first time what art really is about’.[ii] His obsessional quest for the love of his life is an antidote to the dark despair which gets hold of him after every brief, casual love affair. This quest leads Zatopek to Nonnie Nagel. But precisely his passionate love for Nonnie becomes Zatopek’s Achilles’ heel; in ‘Ballade van die nagtelike ure’ he recognizes his own sad predicament: ‘I did not know that “Ballade van die nagtelike ure” would become the crystal ball of my life. I did not know how irrevocably and dramatically the morning of my life would spill me as flotsam over its rim’.[iii] In the TV serial based on Orion Van Wyk Louw is not as prominently present as in the detective novel itself anymore but at the height of their love affair Zatopek gives a book by Van Wyk Louw as a present to Nonnie.
Not only a writer of detective novels but also Afrikaans singers find inspiration in the poetry by Van Wyk Louw. To mention just a few examples: echoes of Van Wyk Louw’s poem ‘Jy was ’n kind’ (You were a child) reverberate through the song ‘Heiden Heiland’ (Heathen Saviour) from the CD Swanesang (Swan song) by the band fokofpolisiekar. The playwright Deon Opperman reworks in his poem ‘Die plukker’ (The picker) one of Van Wyk Louw’s most well-known poems: ‘Die Beiteltjie’ (The little chisel). On her CD Amanda Strydom: woman by the mirror, the singer Amanda Strydom renders Deon Opperman’s poem into song. Willie Strauss has made a CD and a theatrical production entitled Jou ma se poësie en anner gedigte (Your mother’s poetry and other poems). Some of the songs are musical settings of poems by Van Wyk Louw. In his cycle Vier liefdesgedigte (Four love poems) and in Die dobbelsteen (The die) the classical composer Cromwell Everson has put to music respectively three and two poems by Van Wyk Louw.
Cabaret is another form of popular culture. On the occasion of the one hundredth anniversary of Van Wyk Louw’s birth in 1906, the cabaret N.P. van Wyk Louw en die meisies (N.P. van Wyk Louw and the girls) was put on stage. This show was described as ‘circus with narration’.[iv] It was obviously not the intention of the producers to create great art but to provide light and somewhat saucy entertainment: ‘Thus we prepared for the audience the most scandalous episodes from his life in the most exciting ways’.[v] This approach – popular art should indeed not be too difficult – obviously relegates the more intellectually challenging poems by Van Wyk Louw to the dustbin of history. To the question ‘How do you deal with certain aesthetic mannerisms in the poetry of Louw?’ the director Albert Maritz provides the following answer: ‘We deliberately use little of his poetry and even less of his prose, and when his poetry is quoted, it is his ‘reality’ poetry. Poetry which illustrates his values in life and which he prioritized: love, beauty, his religion and politics, his love for his country’.[vi]
Does this mean that the work of Van Wyk Louw is to such an extent subjected to the ravages of time that it has become necessary to deal with it very selectively? Or has the present-day cultural climate become so shallow in comparison to Van Wyk Louw’s day and age that there is hardly any interest in or time for the more precious and intellectually challenging things in life? Die Huisgenoot (The Housemate), the popular weekly in which Van Wyk Louw published a column, cannot be compared by any stretch of the imagination with its present-day version. A lot less raunchy than Van Wyk Louw en die meisies is Klippie-nat-spu, van die haas! (Pebble-wet-spit, from the hare), a word and musical programme based on Klipwerk (Stonework) from the collection Nuwe verse (New poems) and the musical documentary made for television Big, bigger than … N.P. van Wyk Louw, which according to the Internet site of Kyknet, presents an overview of the ups and downs in the life of this giant in the history of South Africa.
Van Wyk Louw is omnipresent not only in more popular formats but also in highbrow literature, and his influence reaches far and wide. Winged words from his poems are often used as titles of anthologies such as Die dye trek die dye aan (The thighs attract the thighs) by Antjie Krog and Johann de Lange, Ons klein en silwerige planeet (Our small and silvery planet) by Johann Lodewyk Marais and Ad Zuiderent, and O wye en droewe land (O wide and sad country) by Adriaan van Dis and Robert Dorsman. Even though the poetical climate has undergone a seismic shift – poets no longer strive for the purest expression of the most exalted emotion or thought; contemporary poets are already contented when they can quietly sit and chew on a bone – the aftershocks of Van Wyk Louw’s poetry can still be clearly registered. The poetry by a wide range of older poets from Johann Lodewyk Marais to Antjie Krog is clearly indebted to him. And in the poems by the younger generation of Afrikaans poets such as Ilse van Staden, Gert Vlok Nel and Danie Marais echoes of poems, stanzas or verses from Van Wyk Louw can be heard.
Not only poets but also prose writers quite often get drawn into an intertextual discussion with Van Wyk Louw. In Die boek van toeval en toeverlaat (2006) (The book of coincidence and consolation) by Ingrid Winterbach, the main character has an enormous admiration for shells because they are the result of a predictable, mathematical process. Shells are perfectly rhythmical and balanced: ‘Like Piero in the poem by Van Wyk Louw, the nautilus shell lives beautifully in mathematics’.[vii] This reference evokes two poems by Van Wyk Louw: ‘Piero della Francesca’[viii] and ‘Pure mathematics’.[ix] However, the novel makes the point that this state of complete harmony and utter perfection is unattainable to man. Man is the plaything of capricious forces. Loss and mortality are inherently part of his destiny.
Not only man’s striving for perfection but also the ominous, uncontrollable, dark urges of man were confronted in Van Wyk Louw’s poetry. In the epic poem Raka they form the biggest threat to progress, civilization and order. The novel Raka – die roman (2005) (Raka – the novel) by Koos Kombuis starts where Van Wyk Louw’s poem ends: the battle between good and bad, light and darkness has been decided in favour of the forces of evil. They can now go on the rampage. In the Afrikaner community they already hold sway. The picture which is sketched of the family of minister Theunis Opperman, which is supposed to be exemplary, is extremely disenchanting. The fact that the novel is set in Stellenbosch, the bastion of the Afrikaner, just adds insult to injury.
Raka – die roman is a sombre book. Fortunately, the lavish use of humour makes the novel lightly digestible. The characters created by Koos Kombuis and the situations in which they get entangled often have a slapstick quality to them. The absurd exaggerations and the excessive larger-than-life characterizations make the novel into a hilarious read. Whether the reader keeps on laughing until the closing paragraphs is, however, not so certain. The portrayal of the total moral decay of the Opperman family – at the beginning of the final scene ‘the children, completely stoned after taking Jozi’s pills, sit and listen to Jan Blohm. ‘Listen,’ says Jozi. ‘He sings Van Wyk Louw’[x] – suggests that nothing is left of the lofty ideals Van Wyk Louw tried to infuse into his people. Is change, fear and loss the fate of a people, which after 1994 has lost its political power, has to fight for its survival once again and as a result has to face a severe crisis of identity? It is bitterly ironic that this extrapolation takes place on the basis of an epic poem by a poet and thinker who had such high aspirations for his people and his country. And Raka – die roman is child’s play in comparison with Kontrei (2003) (Region) by Kleinboer to whom Koos Kombuis dedicated his novel, or Horrelpoot (2006) (Trencherman) the dystopic novel written by Eben Venter.
Raka – die roman is not great art – this cannot be expected of a writer who has chosen the name Koos Kombuis (Koos Kitchen) as a pseudonym – but the futuristic vision which is sketched of the Afrikaner and by implication of the Afrikaner people, is horrifyingly pessimistic. Inevitably Van Wyk Louw’s thoughts on literature and culture, language and people are poignantly activated and radically deconstructed in Koos Kombuis’s novel.
Van Wyk Louw aspired to give legitimacy to the Afrikaner people through the creation of works of art of outstanding beauty. In order to achieve this objective, Afrikaans literature had to break free from the cosy local realism which had characterized it until then. Through the intrepid depiction of all aspects of human life, Afrikaans literature should strive to embody universal truths. The aristocratic artist should make this possible. Van Wyk Louw saw himself as the spokesperson for, and the representative of this ideal. Apart from the pompousness, emotionalism and self-aggrandizement to which this occasionally led, Van Wyk Louw has in his own poetry according to general consensus succeeded in reaching a superior level: ‘With all he has written, Van Wyk Louw is the greatest poet in Afrikaans literature’ is the assessment of John Kannemeyer in his Geskiedenis van die Afrikaanse literatuur (1978) (History of Afrikaans literature).[xi]
Van Wyk Louw’s ambition to create an outstanding literature cannot be isolated from his thoughts on the position and the role of the writer in his community and on the importance of the literary work. While the literary work expresses on the one hand everything that makes a people unique, it can on the other hand transcend a people by opening up a wider perspective and thus by broadening a people’s intellectual horizons. Van Wyk Louw writes the following about the importance of the writer C. Louis Leipoldt:
In the days of our greatest need Leipoldt was the heart of the Afrikaans people … At that time Leipoldt talked, put into words our ache and he let this Afrikaans world of ours shine of a love which has grown during hundreds of years … He at one stage personified the intellect of our people. Maybe he was not a great thinker himself, but he had something in himself which reached beyond the thinking of our people. In many respects he bumped against the narrow confines of our small Afrikaans way of thinking … But he showed a whole generation that there are things lying outside of us.[xii]
Undoubtedly when he wrote this, Van Wyk Louw was also thinking of himself. It is not surprising that Van Wyk Louw was a staunch defender of the literary products of the younger generation of writers, though, as was the case with Jan Rabie, he also had a number of reservations.
Whereas the poetry of Van Wyk Louw is not directly politically involved, his plays most of the time deal with current social issues. Moreover, a number of them are occasional plays or radio plays which were commissioned, such as Die dieper reg:’n spel van die oordeel van ’n volk (1938) (Profound justice: a play about the judgement on a people) which was written on the occasion of the centenary of the Great Trek. It was performed during a popular festival organized by the Afrikaans Cultural Council of Pretoria celebrating the laying of the cornerstone of the Voortrekker Monument on 16 December 1938. The play attracted large audiences. Die pluimsaad waai ver of bitter begin (The seed is blown faraway or bitter beginning) is a play Van Wyk Louw was commissioned to write in 1966, on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of South Africa becoming a republic. Berei in die woestyn (Prepared in the desert) was written and performed in 1968 at the ‘Feast of the soil’ which was organized just once. A number of the radio plays by Van Wyk Louw were commissioned and broadcast by the SAUK, the Afrikaans radio service.
H.F. Verwoerd, then prime minister, lashed out sharply at Die pluimsaad waai ver of bitter begin which he denounced as unpatriotic. Van Wyk Louw was very much taken aback by Verwoerd’s stinging attack. His play was intended to support the Afrikaner cause: an act of remembrance of the Anglo-Boer war and a warning against internal division. His play was not meant to discredit Afrikaner nationalistic ideology but on the contrary to reaffirm and to reinforce it. The negative reactions to his play in Afrikaner nationalistic circles were founded on a misinterpretation of its message.
In his plays Van Wyk Louw did not try to break down the protective fences erected by Afrikaner nationalists: ‘When somebody says that I am a rotten writer, I just shrug – who am I to judge? But when my Afrikanership is put into question, that can still sting, and very painfully indeed … When there is a call for young poets who sing really nationalistically, one can easily say: ‘What has happened to Van Wyk Louw, who has tried to do exactly that for the last thirty years?’’[xiii] Van Wyk Louw was a prominent writer but also an academic and a well-known personality. He reached a wide audience with his columns, which appeared amongst others in Die huisgenoot. He reflects on literature, literary criticism, Afrikaans, Afrikaans literature, his own creative work, the role of the Afrikaans writer, Afrikaner nationalism, the formation of a people, etc. Art and people always get inextricably intertwined. In the preface to Berigte te velde (1939) (Messages from the battle field) Van Wyk Louw writes:
But when re-reading these texts it seemed to me as if one conviction lay at the basis of all of them, an inclination to bring together two points of view which are normally sharply opposed to one another: 1. a belief in the primacy of the purely aesthetic in art, and 2. the conviction that such a ‘purely aesthetic’ art is a big, even a determining factor in the life of a people – and that this has not only to do with the quality of the life within that people, but even on a more fundamental level with the right of existence of that people itself.[xiv]
Van Wyk Louw had the ambition and the vision to pry Afrikaans culture loose from its suffocating mediocrity. He wanted to give so much momentum to a new language and a young people that it would allow them to claim their rightful position amongst other more established languages and nations. He saw himself in the role of a facilitator. Through his poetry and his essays he gave the Afrikaans people the self-confidence that it did not have before. On a cultural level, he achieved what Afrikaans political leaders brought about with the election victory of the National Party in 1948: a renewed belief in the future of the Afrikaner people and of the Afrikaans language. The merits of Van Wyk Louw are generally recognized in the Afrikaner community. Van Wyk Louw has been given a mythical, almost godlike status. His intellectual legacy is presented as everlasting.
Van Wyk Louw of course has to be situated within his historical context. The thirties and forties were a period of renewed combativeness and growing pride of the Afrikaner, the following decades an era of political and cultural consolidation of power. In spite of his criticism of certain aspects of the policies of the National Party Van Wyk Louw has never distanced himself from Afrikaner nationalism. His world view is determined by his steadfast Afrikanership. It prevented him from analysing South African reality from an inclusive perspective. It is ironic that whereas Van Wyk Louw sees resistance and revolt against the injustice experienced by a people as an inalienable right, he grants this right only to the Afrikaner people:
It is often said that Van Wyk Louw was ahead of his time with regard to South African politics. What is probably meant was that he was too liberal. This statement may be true as far as the coloured community is concerned. But when we look at his view on the position of the blacks in this country, our judgment has to be different. Once again, as a consequence of his coupling of people, culture and language, his position boils down to apartheid.[xv]
Is it as a result of the loyalty of Van Wyk Louw to the nationalistic ideal that his ideas were so highly appreciated by the Afrikaner elite and by Afrikaner intellectuals and that he himself could become an icon? That a quotation from Van Wyk Louw, together with one from C.J. Langenhoven, is inscribed on a plaque at the entrance of the Afrikaans Language Monument in Paarl, is not at all surprising. Did his views have such wide acceptance precisely because they did not shake the foundations of Afrikaner nationalism and did not undermine the policies of the different National Party governments? Did most Afrikaner intellectuals not find inspiration in the same nationalistic sources? Were most of them not members of the same brotherhood? In the final analysis a large majority of Afrikaners, also the intellectual elite, were unquestioning and docile supporters of the National Party. Have the ideas of Van Wyk Louw not all too often been used to provide intellectual cover for the apartheid policies of the white government?
It speaks for itself that the ideas of Van Wyk Louw had to be propagated. The organisation of an N.P. van Wyk Louw memorial lecture at the Randse Afrikaanse Universiteit – now the Johannesburg University – expressly served that purpose. F.I.J. van Rensburg posits that one of the objectives was ‘to explore the “unprocessed possibilities” in the oeuvre of Louw. In this way this is not only a homage or a memorial lecture, but also a determination of the relevance of the oeuvre of Louw “for future times”’.[xvi] And indeed most speakers did what was expected of them: they did their utmost to emphasize the continued relevance for later generations of Van Wyk Louw in different domains of human endeavour. Only in the more recent lectures has this trend been buckled; the hero worship of Van Wyk Louw has somewhat waned and a more polemical and critical line has been taken. It is striking how apologetically and cautiously even the mildest criticism of Van Wyk Louw is generally formulated. Old habits die hard. This subservient approach is also evident in J.C. Steyn’s voluminous biography Van Wyk Louw. ’n Lewensverhaal (1998) (Van Wyk Louw. The story of a life). Consequently this biography comes across as a hagiography and not as an objective description and a sober assessment of a writer’s life.
After 1994 the situation of the Afrikaner has radically changed. With the advent of majority rule the National Party, and with it the Afrikaner, lost all political power. Both the language and the culture of the Afrikaner have since come under severe pressure. Reasonably speaking one could have expected that with the bankruptcy of Afrikaner nationalism the ideas of Van Wyk Louw also would have lost some if not all of their appeal. This has not happened. From a deep-rooted feeling of injustice and indignation different outfits, cliques, movements and brotherhoods have desperately been looking for a new nationalistic dynamism for the Afrikaner people. Van Wyk Louw seems to be more popular than ever. There are of course parallels, but also big differences, between the thirties and forties on the one hand and post-apartheid South Africa on the other. But whether the ideas of Van Wyk Louw should still determine the direction in which the Afrikaner should march in the twenty-first century is certainly food for discussion in a serious open debate. Is Van Wyk Louw still the superafrikaner who will come to the rescue of the Afrikaner people in times of its most pressing need? Should Afrikaners like Breyten Breytenbach and other former apostates not replace him as role models and cult figures? The cases of Breytenbach, Beyers Naudé and others show that it is almost unthinkable that a dissident could ever be canonized as an icon of the Afrikaner people.
The frequent use by certain people and organizations of the name and views of Van Wyk Louw – very often simply as an authoritative argument – inevitably implies that his reputation should be vigorously protected and defended. For a large number of Afrikaners, Van Wyk Louw was and still remains untouchable as a writer and a thinker. He is like a Teflon pan: stain resistant and rustproof. Moreover, he can be appropriated without any problems by a wide spectrum of opinionated persons or groups, from selfproclaimed liberals to die-hard conservatives – ironically these days mainly by dyed-inthe-wool conservatives. Recognition can sometimes come from a very unexpected source indeed: in 2005 South African president Thabo Mbeki posthumously awarded the Order of Ikhamanga in Gold to Van Wyk Louw.
In the light of the momentous political and social shift which occurred in South Africa after 1994 it is surprising that there is so little appetite in academic circles to analyse Van Wyk Louw’s ideas critically and to investigate whether they still have any relevance in the new South Africa. Critics who have done exactly that and pointed out certain weaknesses or shortcomings in Van Wyk Louw’s oeuvre have often been mercilessly attacked. But the intellectual legacy of a writer is neither untouchable nor unassailable, no matter what desperate efforts are undertaken by his self-appointed heirs and acolytes to keep it alive and well. Ultimately nothing lasts forever, not even the greatest of icons.
The spiritual legacy of Van Wyk Louw is undoubtedly safer in the hands of popular writers, singers, composers and authors. They at least make creative use of N.P. van Wyk Louw’s ideas by confronting them with the constantly changing political and social South African landscape. Is this not the most suitable homage to a great Afrikaans poet?
i. ‘’n voorlees en bespreking van Van Wyk Louw se “Die hond van God” het regdeur die nag aangehou tot Sondagmiddag ná ete’. D. Meyer, Orion. Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau 2000, 85.
ii. ‘Vir die eerste keer wat kuns werklik is’. D. Meyer, Orion. Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau 2000, 100.
iii. ‘Ek het nie geweet dat “Ballade van die nagtelike ure”’n kristalbal van my lewe sou word nie. Ek het nie geweet hoe finaal en dramaties die môre van my lewe my as opdrifsel oor die rand sou mors nie’. D. Meyer, Orion. Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau 2000, 100.
iv. ‘[s]irkus-met-vertelling’. H. Morgan-Hollanders & A. Maritz, ‘N.P. van Wyk Louw en die meisies: Haydee Hollander gesels met die produksiespan’, available on: www.litnet.co.za.
v. ‘Dus het ons die opspraakwekkendste dele van sy lewe vir die gehoor probeer berei op die opwindendste maniere moontlik’. H. Morgan-Hollanders & A. Maritz, ‘N.P. van Wyk Louw en die meisies: Haydee Hollander gesels met die produksiespan’, available on: www.litnet.co.za.
vi. ‘Hoe kom jy verby seker estetiese geaffekteerdhede in Louw se poësie?’ ‘Ons gebruik doelbewus min van sy poësie en nog minder van sy prosa, en wanneer die poësie ter sprake kom, is ‘realiteits’-verse ter sprake. Verse wat sy lewenswaarhede onderstreep en prioriteit geniet het in sy lewe: liefde, skoonheid, sy godsdiens en politiek, sy liefde vir sy land’. H. Morgan-Hollanders & A. Maritz, ‘N.P. van Wyk Louw en die meisies: Haydee Hollander gesels met die produksiespan’, available on: www.litnet.co.za.
vii. ‘Soos Piero in Van Wyk Louw se gedig, leef die nautilusskulp skoon in die wiskunde’. I. Winterbach, Die boek van toeval en toeverlaat. Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau 2006, 307.
viii. N.P. van Wyk Louw, Versamelde gedigte. Kaapstad: Tafelberg 1981, 256.
ix. N.P. van Wyk Louw, Versamelde gedigte. Kaapstad: Tafelberg 1981, 182.
x. ‘sit die kinders, diep gerook van Jozi se pille, en luister na Jan Blohm. ‘Hoor daar,’ sê Jozi. ‘Hy sing van N.P. van Wyk Louw’. K. Kombuis, Raka – die roman. Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau 2005, 221.
xi. ‘Met dit alles is Van Wyk Louw die grootste digtersfiguur van die Afrikaanse letterkunde’. J.C. Kannemeyer, Geskiedenis van die Afrikaanse literatuur . Deel I. Kaapstad: Academica 1978, 437.
xii. ‘In die dae van ons grootste nood was Leipoldt die hart van die Afrikaanse volk … Toe het Leipoldt gepraat, woorde gegee aan ons smart en hierdie Afrikaanse wêreld van ons laat opglans van ‘n liefde wat in honderde jare gegroei het … Hy het op een tydstip die intellek van ons volk verpersoonlik. Hy was miskien self geen groot denker nie, maar hy het iets in hom gehad wat buite die denk van ons volk gereik het. Hy het hom in baie opsigte teen die eng grense van ons Afrikaanse gedagtewêreldjie gestamp … Maar hy het aan ‘n hele geslag getoon dat daar dinge buitekant ons lê’. J.C. Kannemeyer, Leipoldt. Kaapstad: Tafelberg 1999, 656.
xiii. ‘As iemand sê ek is ‘n vrot skrywer, haal ek my skouers op – wie is ek om te oordeel? Maar as my Afrikanerskap in twyfel getrek word, kan dit nog seer maak, bitter seer … As gevra word om jonger digters wat eg nasionaal sing, kan een maklik sê: ‘Wat het gebeur met Van Wyk Louw, wat dit al dertig jaar probeer doen?’’. J.C. Steyn, Van Wyk Louw. ’n Lewensverhaal. Deel II. Kaapstad: Tafelberg 1998, 1046.
xiv. ‘Maar by die herlees van die stukke het dit my voorgekom asof daar een oortuiging aan almal ten grondslag lê, ’n neiging om twee standpunte saam te vat wat anders skerp teenoor mekaar gestel word; 1. ‘n geloof aan die primaat van die suiwer estetiese in die kuns, en 2. die oortuiging dat so ’n “suiwer estetiese” kuns ’n groot, selfs ’n beslissende faktor in die lewe van ’n volk is – en dat dit nie alleen met die kwaliteit van die lewe binne daardie volk te doen het nie, maar nog dieper, met die bestaansreg van die volk self’. N.P. van Wyk Louw, Versamelde prosa. Deel I. Kaapstad: Tafelberg 1986, 3.
xv. ‘Dit word dikwels gesê dat Van Wyk Louw sy tyd vooruit was ten opsigte van die Suid-Afrikaanse politiek. Hierdeur word seker bedoel dat hy te liberaal was. Hierdie stelling mag waar wees waar dit gaan oor die Kleurlinge. Maar as ons kyk na sy siening van die swartes se posisie in die land, moet ons oordeel anders wees. Weer, as gevolg van sy koppeling van volk, kultuur en taal, kom sy siening neer op apartheid’. R.E. Van der Ross, ‘Onvoldoende liberalisme’ in W. Burger (red.), Die oop gesprek. N.P. van Wyk Louw-gedenklesings. Pretoria: Lapa 2006, 95.
xvi. ‘om die “onverwerkte moontlikhede” van Louw se oeuvre verder uit te werk. Sodoende is dit nie bloot ’n huldigingslesing of ’n herdenkingslesing nie, maar ook die bepaling van die tersaaklikheid van Louw se werk “vir latere tye”’. W. Burger, ‘Voorwoord: die (steeds) oopgelate kring’. In W. Burger (red.), Die oop gesprek. N.P. van Wyk Louw-gedenklesings. Pretoria: Lapa 2006, ii.
Burger, Willie. ‘Voorwoord: die (steeds) oopgelate kring’. In Burger, Willie (red.) Die oop gesprek. N.P. van Wyk Louw-gedenklesings. Pretoria: Lapa 2006.
Kannemeyer, J.C. 1978. Geskiedenis van die Afrikaanse literatuur. Deel I. Kaapstad: Academica.
Kannemeyer, J.C. Leipoldt. Kaapstad: Tafelberg 1999.
Kombuis, Koos. Raka – die roman. Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau 2005.
Louw, N.P. van Wyk. Versamelde gedigte. Kaapstad: Tafelberg/Human & Rousseau 1981.
Louw, N.P. van Wyk. Versamelde prosa. Deel I. Kaapstad: Tafelberg 1986.
Meyer, Deon. Orion. Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau 2000.
Morgan-Hollander, Haydee and Maritz, Albert. NP van Wyk Louw en die Meisies: Haydee-Hollander gesels met die produksiespan. Op webwerf: www.litnet.co.za.
Steyn, J.C. Van Wyk Louw. ’n Lewensverhaal. Deel II. Kaapstad: Tafelberg 1998.
Van der Ross, R.E.. ‘Onvoldoende liberalisme’. In Burger, Willie (red.). Die oop gesprek. N.P. van Wyk Louw-gedenklesings. Pretoria: Lapa 2006.
Winterbach, Ingrid. Die boek van toeval en toeverlaat. Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau 2006.