dr. A.D.M. van de Haar
A Tale of Two Tongues: The Interplay of Dutch and French in the Literary Culture of the Low Countries, 1550-1600 (NWO, PhDs in the Humanities, principal investigator, 2013-2017)
This project aims to research to what extent and how the strive for a standardized, pure Dutch vernacular as part of a growing national identity was related to the multilingual situation in the Low Countries in the period 1550-1600. The importance of Dutch and French and the interplay between these two languages in shaping a (proto-)national Netherlandish identity will be studied, starting from the hypothesis that vernacular literary culture in the Low Countries was hybrid and cosmopolitan. The hypothesis brings bilingual authors and their works – shifted to the margins of Dutch literary history until now – into consideration as key representatives of the literary culture of the period, in which both French and Dutch were widely used. The hypothesis will be tested and an interpretive model will be developed for four bilingual, ideal-typical representatives of this hybrid and cosmopolitan literary culture: Philips of Marnix of Saint Aldegonde, Lucas d’Heere, Peeter Heyns, and Jan van der Noot. Together their activities and writings cover contemporary literary culture in a broad sense, i.e. including all written texts. Explicit reflections on the relationship between languages and national identity will be compared to the use of the vernaculars in both their lives and literary works, in order to gain insight into when, how and why they used a certain language and into the connection between the hybrid, multilingual nature of cultural life and the role of the relationship between the Dutch and French languages in the search for a Netherlandish (proto-national) identity.
Orateurs et rhétoriciens : agir et former par la parole publique au seuil de l’Europe moderne (Pays-Bas / France, XVe-XVIe siècle). (Partenariat Hubert Curien-Van Gogh, team member, 2016-2017)
This project will study the cultural products and practices of groups of intellectuals in France and in the Low Countries in the 15th and 16th centuries, at a time where innovative forms of communication, the printing press and drama, were developing.
Scholars have often studied this media revolution and its techniques rather than the men who used it to build a new public space. Oral and written discourse in that period acquired new means of circulation, thus earning a real power of action that could influence public opinion. The individuals that appropriated these new media were often young people who were completing their formation or looking to secure a better social position for themselves, often through the creation of specific networks. They called themselves 'orators' or 'rhetoricians', claimed a great diversity of textual productions and sought to represent public opinion thanks to their ability to formulate an authoritative discourse.
The French and the Dutch teams in this project will study the products, performances and channels through which these communities of speech built their identity and asserted them in the public space. The researchers will use an interdisciplinary approach combining the methods of cultural and art history, literary analysis, philology and archaeology of the media. They chose to focus on the two cited regions, the Low Countries and France, because they presented parallel urban structures and systems of formation of the youth, as well as a common rhetorical culture based on the French language, even if they had different political systems. By analysing the writing and communication strategies of authors who were linked to the milieus of schools and universities, justice and law, as well as printers, the teams will show how these orators-rhetoricians occupied public space and, by competing, collaborating and debating with each other, reflected on political issues.
Trading Values: Cultural Translation in Early Modern Antwerp (NWO, Internationalisation in the Humanities, academy assistant, 2011-2014)
Early modern Antwerp's reputation as a trading city depended not only on its commercial activity, on material trade and exchange, but also on its cultural activity, on trade and exchange in a symbolic sense. This internationalization project proposes that Antwerp throughout the sixteenth and the first half of the seventeenth centuries upheld its dedication to cultural exchange, or - as we would like to call it - cultural translation, as a means of continuing to create both material wealth and symbolic value. Concentrating on the fields of art, literature, science, and scholarship, we aim to investigate how belief in cultural exchange was expressed and reformulated in the city during this period. In dealing with works of art, literary texts, scholarly theories, and scientific instruments we concentrate on the processes of translation that were involved in their creation and the way they affected their appearance, meaning, and use. We shall employ recent approaches to trans-cultural history that are based on a revised understanding of translation and transfer.
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