Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Reading and Transferring the Sublime. The Scholarly Reception and Political Relevance of the Sublime in the Dutch Golden Age

This research will investigate which aspects of On the sublime received attention in the intellectual milieu of the seventeenth century and how the sublime found its way in the political and artistic discourse of that time. Thus I aim to shed light on the role of art in politics and society in this important period in the development of the Dutch Republic.

Duration
2013  -   2017
Contact
Wieneke Jansen
Funding
ERC Starting Grant ERC Starting Grant

My research will focus on the reception of ps.-Longinus’ treatise On the sublime in the Dutch Republic in the seventeenth century. This treatise on the overwhelming power of texts and literature was written in the first or third century AD, but has long remained unknown, until a Byzantine manuscript (Parisinus Graecus 2036) was rediscovered by sixteenth-century Italian scholars. After its editio princeps by Francesco Robortello (Basel 1554) various editions and translations in Latin and Italian appeared. The first edition of On the sublime in the Netherlands was issued by Jacobus Tollius in 1694 and the first Dutch translation, by Pieter Le Clercq, appeared in 1719.

However, the earlier editions of the text by Franciscus Portus (Geneva 1569), Gabriel de Petra (Geneva 1612) and Tanneguy le Fèvre (Saumur 1663) already circulated in the Netherlands by the beginning of the seventeenth century and were actively studied by prominent Dutch scholars such as Daniel Heinsius, Gerardus Vossius and Franciscus Junius F.F. They incorporated elements from Longinus’ theory in their works on tragedy (Heinsius, De constitutione tragoediae), rhetoric and poetry (Vossius, Institutiones oratoriae and Institutionespoeticae), and the art of painting (Junius, De pictura veterum). Moreover, they dedicated their works to prominent statesmen and governmental institutions. These scholars were thus prominently involved not only with the academic, but also the political circles of their time. A vast corpus of letters shows that they exchanged ideas with a.o. Constantijn Huygens, Hugo Grotius, Caspar Barlaeus, and Joost van den Vondel. In my PhD thesis I will investigate which aspects of On the sublime received attention in the intellectual milieu of the seventeenth century and how the sublime found its way in the political and artistic discourse of that time. Thus I aim to shed light on the role of art in politics and society in this important period in the development of the Dutch Republic.

Connection with other research

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