Kloos, Willem

Kloos, Willem

(vĭl`əm klōs), 1859–1938, Dutch poet and critic. In 1885 he founded the progressive literary journal De Nieuwe Gids [the new guide]. His personal anger against prevailing modes of literary expression is vented in the sonnets in Verzen (1894), notable for the fresh imagery and metaphor they introduced to Dutch poetry. Unlike some of his literary associates, Kloos never developed social concerns and remained primarily a literary reformer.

Kloos, Willem


Born May 6, 1859, in Amsterdam; died Mar. 31, 1938, in The Hague. Dutch poet. Representative of the Tachtigers (an aestheticist literary movement of the 1880’s; from Dutch tachtig, “eighty”) and one of the founders of the journal De Nieuwe Gids (1885–1943).

Kloos graduated from the University of Amsterdam in 1884. He first appeared in print in 1879 with articles of literary criticism and current affairs. His early poems were written in 1875–78 (A Book of Youthful Elegies, in German). Kloos advocated the theory of art for art’s sake. He adhered to the principles of the theory in his lyrical and philosophical sonnets (published in 1894, 1902, and 1913 as collections entitled Verses). He also published dramatic fragments on themes of antiquity, such as Rhodope (1878) and Sappho (1882). Kloos was also the author of works of literary scholarship.


Letterkundige inzichten, vols. 1–3. Amsterdam, 1916–38.
Verzen. Amsterdam, 1932.


Michaël, H. W. Kloos: Zijn jeugd, zijn leven. The Hague, 1965. (Bibliography, pages 368–70, 376–79).
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