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Elisabeth Maria Post (1755–1812)

Author of Het land, in brieven

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Elisabeth Maria Post was born and spent her early childhood in Utrecht, Holland, a daughter of Evert Post, the prosperous owner of a sugar factory, and his wife Maria Johanna van Romondt. When she was 12 years old, her father's business went bankrupt, leaving the family destitute. In her autobiographical writings, she reflected on the years of social isolation, poverty, and frequent moves that ensured. She began publishing poems and prose around age 25. She was known as a sentimental writer and for describing nature and the Dutch landscape in minute detail in her works. She also was interested in the emancipation of women. In 1787, she and her mother moved to Arnhem to live with her brother Evert Johan Post, a pastor. Elisabeth made use of the rectory's well-stocked library. In 1788, she published her debut novel Het land, in brieven (The Land), a semi-autobiographical work in epistolary form. It brought her fame and contact with literary circles. After the death of her mother, she moved with her elder sister to the rural town of Velp, where she was happy amid the fields, moors, and hills of the countryside. The novel Reinhart, of natuur en godsdienst (Reinhart, or Nature and Religion, 1791-1792) is considered her magnum opus. In 1794, she married Justus Ludovicus Overdorp, a clergyman from Noordwijk. She described her love for him in her poetry collection Gezangen der liefde (Songs of Love, 1794). She continued writing but suffered from asthma and its complications. She died in 1812 at age 56.
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