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Research Our research Research per discipline English Literature and Linguistics


Our staff members run or participate in a number of international research projects. Here are some of our current initiatives:

Dr Joanne van der Woude
VIDI-project (NWO)
No More Heroes: Violence and Resistance in New World Poetry (2015-2020)

No more heroes

No More Heroes argues that poetry was an important medium both for information and political propaganda about colonial (pre-1800) America. This emphasis challenges most modern scholarship, which considers early modern prose to be more common and more truthful than verse. Instead, this project shows how poetry—particularly through its many generic and discursive registers, such as epic and irony—succeeds in describing the complicated processes of colonization and resistance in accurate and important ways.

In addition to English, Spanish, and Dutch poetry, this thoroughly comparative proposal also considers rare materials that render responses to the conquest in the Native American language Nahua, as well as New World texts written by creoles and Blacks. Such an integrated investigation of cultural production on the topic of early America is new and unique.

By looking at victorious and tragic heroes, this project uncovers the political aims of much early modern poetry. The violence that these heroes inflict or experience often runs against the aims of empire. Poetry should thus be seen as both a significant medium for New World information, as well as an unacknowledged site for colonial American resistance to European governing powers.

This interdisciplinary project can only be successfully executed now that the catalogues of specific libraries and archives have been digitized and because of the applicant’s extensive experience with those colonial collections and their multi-lingual materials. While we move towards more integrated ideas of American literature, as being poly-ethnic and more than Anglophone, No More Heroes helps us conceive of the origins of that tradition in novel and necessary ways.

Prof. Sebastian Sobecki
The Richard Hakluyt Principal Navigations Editorial Project (2011-2016)


The Hakluyt Society, the National Maritime Museum, The Centre for Travel Writing Studies, Nottingham Trent University, and the National University of Ireland, Galway, are collaborating on a critical edition of Richard Hakluyt's The Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques and Discoveries of the English Nation (1598-1600) [The Hakluyt Editorial Project]. The edition will be published by Oxford University Press and is scheduled to appear in 14 volumes between 2014 and 2016. Prof. Sobecki will be editing the first and coediting the second volume

Dr Kees Dekker
Fruits of Learning: the Transfer of Encyclopaedic Knowledge in the Early Middle Ages
Fruits of Learning

October 2016 s aw the publication of Fruits of Learning: the Transfer of Encyclopaedic Knowledge in the Early Middle Ages, ed. Rolf H. Bremmer Jr and Kees Dekker, Mediaevalia Groningana n.s. 21 (Peeters: Leuven, 2016, 418pp.). This volume of articles marks the successful conclusion of the internationalisation programme, Storehouses of Wholesome Learning: Accumulation and Dissemination of Encyclopaedic Knowledge in the Early Middle Ages, a collaboration between the universities of Groningen, Leiden and Palermo, and subsidised by NWO and the University of Palermo. Begun in 2004, this project aimed to study of the transmission and development of encyclopaedic knowledge in the early Middle Ages (500–1200). During this period, scholian texts, including glossaries, epigrams, encyclopaedic notes, prognostics, alphabets, fragments and extracts, made up an important part of the cultural blood-line from the Mediterranean World to North-Western Europe and Anglo-Saxon England, where they often found a place in so-called miscellany manuscripts. Such miscellanies had, until recently, been studied mostly from a traditional philological perspective. In this project, miscellanies of early medieval encyclopaedic and scholian texts were evaluated along modern interdisciplinary lines, in an integrated way, as storehouses of learning functioning as vehicles of culture. Hence, special attention was paid to the reciprocal cohesion between individual texts and to the relation between texts and book.

          Organised by Rolf Bremmer (Leiden), Kees Dekker (Groningen) and Patrizia Lendinara (Palermo), the project involved 26 scholars from Europe, Britain and the United States, who met in four workshops, each of which was devoted to a major aspect of the project. The first workshop resulted in vol. 1, Foundations of Learning: the Transfer of Encyclopaedic Knowledge in the Early Middle Ages, Mediaevalia Groningana n.s. 9 (Peeters: Leuven, 2007, 405 pp.), edited by Rolf H. Bremmer and Kees Dekker, who also edited vol. 2, Practice in Learning: the Transfer of Encyclopaedic Knowledge in the Early Middle Ages, MG n.s. 16 (Peeters: Leuven, 2010, 375pp.), and vol. 4. Vol. 3, Limits to Learning: the Transfer of Encyclopaedic Knowledge in the Early Middle Ages, MG n.s. 19 (Peeters: Leuven, 2013, 308pp.), was edited by Concetta Giliberto and Loredana Teresi (Palermo). All contributions to these volumes explore the influence of encyclopaedic knowledge in early medieval culture with the aim of deepening our understanding of medieval learning and literature in an intercultural perspective.

Foundations of Learning
Foundations of Learning
Practice in Learning
Practice in Learning
Limits to Learning
Limits to Learning
Last modified:05 March 2020 11.51 a.m.