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Symposium Travelling Ideas in the Long Nineteenth Century

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Date: Tuesday 3 December 2013
Place: Van Swinderenhuis, Oude Boteringestraat 19, 9712 GC, Groningen


Ideer på reisefot – Ideeën op reis – Idéer på resande fot – Travelling Ideas

The symposium Travelling Ideas in the Long Nineteenth Century focuses on the cultural exchange between the North and continental Europe in the long nineteenth century, more specific on the 19th century exchange of knowledge and culture between the Nordic countries and Europa. Nordic authors and thinkers are put in a European perspective. Which phenomena in the North excited European interest and became sources of inspiration for cultural innovation in Europe? Which ideas did Nordic artists bring with them to Europe from the North? Take for instance Camilla Collett (1813-1895) and Ivar Aasen (1813-1896), who were both cosmopolitan and who can be seen as innovators within a European perspective. Collett was one of the first European correspondents, Aasen’s construction of a new national language aroused European interest. These two Norwegian authors, whose 200th anniversaries are both celebrated in 2013, represent a nineteenth century pendulumbetween the national and the European. On the one side various movements arose in the North on the waves of the Romantic Movement: open air museums, Romantic painting, national literary history, the collecting of fairy tales and a focus on the national language. On the other side industrialisation resulted in a supranational movement towards Europe, which was both cultural, philosophical and social. Artists educated themselves on their Grand Tour of Europe, European artists’ colonies emerged, and The Modern Breakthrough led to an awareness of the new perspectives that Scandinavian literature could offer to European culture. Political and social movements in the North were also of great importance for this innovation, for example the early emancipation of women and workers.

Collette

The symposium focuses on a number of case studies, such as the linguistic situation and language policy in Norway (which has inspired both literary and linguistic researchers in Belgium and the Netherlands) and the early emancipation of women in the North, which manifested itself both in politics and in Nordic literature. Just like J.E. Sachse wrote in De Gids in 1891, it was mainly the female authors of The Modern Breakthrough who attracted attention. Previously Marie Sophie Schwartz, Fredrika Bremer and Emilie Flygare-Carlén (1807-1892) had drawn a large European readership and their novels can be seen as nineteenth century bestsellers. The authors of The Modern Breakthrough, in particular, inspired many female cultural mediators in continental Europe, such as the Dutch women’s rights campaigner Aletta Jacobs. Other case studies are the Nordic painters who broke through in many European museums; the Danish author H.C. Andersen, who collected inspiration for his texts from all over Europe; the Nordic philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855, another anniversary), who, similarly to Ibsen and Strindberg later in the nineteenth century, is viewed as a European thinker, and the Flemish author Hendrik Conscience (1812-1883), an example of a national author who became a European author. He was not only translated into all the Nordic languages, but into many other European languages as well.

The waves of translated literature become visible in bibliographies, which can be seen as a separate genre within literary history. Bibliographies with an overview of Danish literature (Grit) and Norwegian literature (Groen, De Saeger) already exist. As a prelude to the Swedish-Dutch jubilee year 2014 the symposium will be concluded with the presentation of the bibliography of Swedish and Finland Swedish authors in Dutch translation (Zweedse en Zweedstalige Finse auteurs in Nederlandse vertaling 1491-2007), composed by Petra Broomans and Ingeborg Kroon.The first copy will be presented to the Swedish ambassador H.E. Mr. Håkan Emsgård.


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Last modified:25 July 2018 3.54 p.m.