“All that matters, darling, is that someone sees more in you than you knew there was to see.” According to participants in a poll by the CPNB Foundation, this is the most beautiful love phrase in Dutch literature. That was announced tonight in the NOS radio program Met het Oog op Morgen.
The phrase comes from Arthur Japin’s book A Splendid Defect, which was published in 2003. The poll was held in the context of the theme First Love of the upcoming Book Week. The 1500 guests of the Boekenbal were asked to submit their favorite love phrase. A top ten was compiled from this, which was then presented to a representative panel of Dutch people.
Other sentences in the top 10 came from, among others, Anne Frank (“When I think about it, I feel his cheek against mine today with that wonderful feeling that makes everything right”) and Connie Palmen (“I want you forever alive, I tell him”).
‘Close to myself’
According to winner Arthur Japin, writing about love is like loving itself: “It comes naturally and yet it takes courage, there are no words and yet you have to speak up, it can easily go wrong and yet you have to take the risk.”
In Met het Oog op Morgen, Japin said he is happy with the outcome of the poll, although he had to look up the winning sentence. “I didn’t know where the sentence was in the book, others apparently know my work better than I do.”
According to the author, in terms of style, the sentence is not necessarily special or beautiful. “But it’s pithy. It’s a sentence that’s close to me, and that’s the secret to things like this anyway: if you stay close to yourself, to something you have experienced yourself, then you have the greatest chance that people recognize themselves in it.”