Krina Huisman

Krina Huisman, MA

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Personal profile

Research interests

‘There are no words for sorrow’ is a popular expression. Yet, over the past two decades, there has been a proliferation of literature on loss and bereavement in the Netherlands. Think of Tonio by A.F.Th. van der Heijden, Logboek van een onbarmhartig jaar by Connie Palmen, and Contrapunt by Anna Enquist. Not only established literary authors write about grief, however. Grief experts too have written a long list of bestselling self-help books and what to think of the many personal blogs that circulate online?   

In my dissertation I study three discourses on grief that circulate in the Netherlands: the therapeutic, the literary, and the social media discourse. What do these discourses tell us about shared cultural conceptions and norms of grief in the Netherlands in the 21st century? Is grief still considered to be a private affair? Are the bereaved encouraged to express or control their emotions? Who is allowed to say something about grief: the bereaved or the experts? Few answers have yet been formulated to these questions, but I believe that they can be found in the many words of and on sorrow that have been written over the past decade.