Mulisch's name will go down in history as the writer par excellence of modern myths, and possibly not only in Dutch literary history. Every one of his great novels such as Het Stenen Bruidsbed (The Stone Bridal Bed) (1959), Hoogste Tijd (High Time) (1985), and De Aanslag (The Assault) (1982) is technically based on, or evokes reminiscences of, existing classical myths; at the same time, each work is thematically related to the author's own time and experiences, usually World War II. Every one of the more important characters, excluding the main characters who normally serve as narrators or reporters, is an embodiment or personification of an archetype. In The Assault the various characters not only play completely different roles in the killing of a German officer by members of the Dutch Resistance movement, but they also represent distinct types. The action is also much more than an incident. The protagonist, Anton Steenwijk, spends a lifetime trying to solve the puzzle consisting of the various causes and effects relative to the fatal act. He does this not as a detective but as a normal, thinking human being who is interested in knowing where he came from and where he is headed. The puzzle that presents itself to him is as complex, yet as logical, as the waves created by a passing ship, reverberating indefinitely, even when the ship has disappeared from sight. Mulisch is, with Wolkers, Hermans, and Vestdijk, one of the most talented novelists of his generation, but he may be expected to outlive all three others because of the classical nature of his work, classical here meaning "of primary significance for all people of all times."
Paul Vincent taught Dutch at London University from 1967 to 1989 and since then has translated a wide variety of Dutch-language authors, including Louis Couperus, Willem Elsschot and Harry Mulisch.