Universiteit Leiden

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Ton Harmsen

Dr. A.J.E. Harmsen
+31 71 527 2727

Ton Harmsen is a guest member at the Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society.

More information about Ton Harmsen


My research focuses on Dutch literature of the sixteenth to the eighteenth century. During this period, writing in the Netherlands  was not only done in Dutch but also in Latin, French and several other European languages. The different literary traditions had considerable influence on one another, as can be seen from the Dutch poems in the style of Horace, Petrarch or Ronsard, the prose styles of Tacitus, Seneca or Montaigne and plays in the style of Sophocles, Plautus, or Molière. This influence was often channelled by rhetorical and poetical views and was certainly directed by political and economic changes. Based on firm philological grounds, I endeavour to explain the phenomena making use of these insights.   




Curriculum Vitae

I was born in The Hague in 1948. I took my final school exams in 1968 at the Gymnasium in Breda, and then worked at a large Rotterdam off-set printing business on the four-colour press and taught Marxism-Leninism. When the Socialist Party decided to join the elections, I continued my studies in Leiden, studying under Sonja Witstein and I graduated with a Master’s Degree in Dutch in 1977. After the death of Witstein, I found E.K. Grootes (University Amsterdam) as a new supervisor and obtained my doctorate (on Nil Volentibus Arduum) in 1989. For one year I was a ‘ professore a contratto’ at the Istituto Orientale in Naples and in 2006 I lectured in Beijing and Shanghai on the Dutch occupation of Taiwan (1623-1662).

Teaching activities

I lecture on Dutch literature in early modern times . For the first-year students of Dutch there are formal lectures and study groups, and for the advanced students different study groups on edition techniques, literary historical research and analysis of literary texts. Within the specialist subject of The Golden Age, I give lectures on literary history and on Bontius’ historical tragedy with a happy ending about the siege of Leiden (1645).


A.J.E. Harmsen: ‘Conradinus en de trits Vernulaeus, Oudaen, Smids.’ In:  De letter doet de geest leven. Bundel opstellen aangeboden aan Max de Haan. Red. Bert van Selm. Leiden 1980, p. 172-188. 

M.A. Plautus:  De tweeling van Plautus. Twee zeventiende-eeuwse Plautus-bewerkingen. Ed. B.F.W. Beenen, A.J.E. Harmsen, B.C. Damsteegt. Utrecht 1985. (Publikaties van de Vakgroep Nederlandse taal- en letterkunde 14). 

A.J.E. Harmsen (ed.):  Onderwys in de tooneel-poëzy. De opvattingen over toneel van het Kunstgenootschap Nil Volentibus Arduum. Rotterdam 1989. Diss. UVA. 

A.J.E. Harmsen: ‘Sannazaro nella letteratura nederlandese.’ In:  Acta conventus Neo-Latini Bariensis. Proceedings of the sixth international congress of Neo-Latin studies. Ed. R.J. Schoeck. Binghamton, New York, 1996, pag. 391 - 399. 

A.J.E. Harmsen: ‘Hooft en Nil Volentibus Arduum. De waardigheid der poëzie.’ In: Omnibus idem. Opstellen over P.C. Hooft ter gelegenheid van zijn 350-ste sterfdag.Hilversum, 1997, p. 107 - 120. 

A.J.E. Harmsen: ‘Mithridate dans le théâtre néerlandais.’ In:  Revue de littérature comparée63 (1999), p. 165 - 176.

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Centre for the Arts in Society
  • Oude Nederlandse L&C

Work address

Arsenaalstraat 1
2311 CT Leiden
Room number B2.01



  • No relevant ancillary activities
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