What do European writers share in common? And, to hoist the stakes from the speculative to the metaphysical, does or could such a beast as a true "European literature" exist?In The Independent, Boyd Tonkin reports from the Writing Europe conference in Amsterdam.
The cities of liberal Europe, said Abdelkader Benali, a fast-rising star of Dutch literature, are "wonderful places to doubt. You start from an assumption and at the end of the evening you have chaos - because chaos means liberty." James Meek, from Scotland, doubted so deeply that he - rhetorically - denied the existence of any shared Euro-culture or history. True-Brit scepticism? Not really, but a post-Enlightenment skit in the vein of Voltaire, or even David Hume.