Joost van den Vondel (1587-1679)

Dutch Playwright in the Golden Age


Joost van den Vondel (1587-1679) was the most prolific poet and playwright of his age. During his long life, roughly coinciding with the Dutch Golden Age, he wrote over thirty tragedies. He was a famous figure in political and artistic circles of Amsterdam, a contemporary and acquaintance of Grotius and Rembrandt, and in general well acquainted with Latin humanists, Dutch scholars, authors and Amsterdam burgomasters. He fuelled literary, religious and political debates. His tragedy 'Gysbreght van Aemstel', which was played on the occasion of the opening of the stone city theatre in 1638, was to become the most famous play in Dutch history, and can probably boast holding the record for the longest tradition of annual performance in Europe. In general, Vondel’s texts are literary works in the full sense of the word, complex and inexhaustive; attracting attention throughout the centuries.

Contributors include: Eddy Grootes, Riet Schenkeveld-van der Dussen, Mieke B. Smits-Veldt, Marijke Spies, Judith Pollmann, Bettina Noak, Louis Peter Grijp, Guillaume van Gemert, Jürgen Pieters, Nina Geerdink, Madeleine Kasten, Marco Prandoni, Peter Eversmann, Mieke Bal, Maaike Bleeker, Bennett Carpenter, James A. Parente, Jr., Stefan van der Lecq, Jan Frans van Dijkhuizen, Helmer Helmers, Kristine Steenbergh, Yasco Horsman, Jeanne Gaakeer, and Wiep van Bunge.

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Jan Bloemendal, Ph.D. (1997) in Neo-Latin Literature, Utrecht University, is senior researcher at the Huygens Institute for Dutch History of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, and professor by special appointment of Neo-Latin Studies at the University of Amsterdam.

Frans-Willem Korsten, Ph.D. (1998) in Cultural Analysis, Amsterdam University, is professor by special appointment of Literature and Society at the Erasmus School for History Culture and Communication, and works at the Leiden University Institute for Cultural Disciplines (department of Film and Literary Studies).
“[This book] serves a dual purpose. It is the first comprehensive discussion of Vondel’s drama in English, and it offers a sampling of both more traditional and novel approaches. […] It brings Vondel’s large theatrical output to the attention of Anglophone readers, but does much more than that: by letting the light of theory shine on these plays, the book demonstrates just how rich, fresh, and valuable a writer Vondel remains.”
Theo Hermans, University College London. In: Renaissance Quarterly, Vol. 66, No. 1 (Spring 2013), pp. 345-347.

“this volume manages to present Vondel’s dramatic oeuvre in all its breadth for an international audience. It is a work of reference on the one hand and a research laboratory and forum for debate on the other. To its credit, this volume features the whole spectrum of past and present research on Vondel’s plays and integrates representatives of different methodological and theoretical provenance.”
Maria-Theresia Leuker, University of Cologne. In: Journal of Dutch Literature, Vol. 4, No. 2 (December 2013), pp. 92-102.

Chapter 1
Vondel’s Dramas: A Chronological Survey
Eddy Grootes and Riet Schenkeveld-van der Dussen

Chapter 2
Vondel’s Works for the Stage Read and Studied Over the Centuries
Riet Schenkeveld-van der Dussen

Chapter 3
Vondel’s Dramas: Ways of Relating Present and Past
Frans-Willem Korsten

Part I – Vondel’s Life, Works and Times

Chapter 4
Vondel’s Life
Mieke B. Smits-Veldt and Marijke Spies

Chapter 5
Vondel’s Religion
Judith Pollmann

Chapter 6
Vondel and Amsterdam
Eddy Grootes

Chapter 7
Vondel as a Dramatist: The Representation of Language and Body
Bettina Noak

Chapter 8
Vondel’s Theatre and Music
Louis Peter Grijp and Jan Bloemendal

Chapter 9
Vondel’s Dramas: Their Afterlife in Performance
Mieke B. Smits-Veldt

Chapter 10
Vondel’s Reception Abroad
Guillaume van Gemert

Part II – Approaches and Dramas

Chapter 11
New Historicism – Hierusalem verwoest (1620) and the Jewish Question
Jürgen Pieters

Chapter 12
Politics and Aesthetics – Decoding Allegory in Palamedes (1625)
Nina Geerdink

Chapter 13
Translation Studies – Vondel’s Appropriation of Grotius’s Sophompaneas (1635)
Madeleine Kasten

Chapter 14
Intertextuality – Gysbreght van Aemstel (1637)
Marco Prandoni

Chapter 15
Dramaturgy – Staging Problems in Gysbreght van Aemstel (1637)
Peter G.F. Eversmann

Chapter 16
Cultural Analysis – Joseph Plays (1640)
Mieke Bal, Maaike Bleeker, Bennett Carpenter and Frans-Willem Korsten

Chapter 17
The Humanist Tradition – Maria Stuart (1646)
James A. Parente Jr. and Jan Bloemendal

Chapter 18
Deconstruction – Unsettling Peace in Leeuwendalers (1647)
Stefan van der Lecq

Chapter 19
Religion and Politics – Lucifer (1654) and Milton’s Paradise Lost (1674)
Jan Frans van Dijkhuizen and Helmer Helmers

Chapter 20
Gender Studies – Emotions in Jeptha (1659)
Kristine Steenbergh

Chapter 21
Close Reading and Theory – The David Plays (1660)
Frans-Willem Korsten

Chapter 22
Psychoanalysis – Law, Theatre and Violence in Samson (1660)
Yasco Horsman

Chapter 23
Law and Literature – Batavische gebroeders (1663)
Jeanne Gaakeer

Chapter 24
New Philology – Variants in Adam in ballingschap (1664)
Jan Bloemendal

Chapter 25
Philosophy – Noah (1667) about God and Nature
Wiep van Bunge

Works Cited

Part IV

Bibliography of Vondel’s dramas (1850–2008)
Jan Bloemendal

About the authors

All those interested in the history and literary history of the Dutch Golden Age; Renaissance, Classicist or Baroque drama; the history of Amsterdam; reception of Antiquity; reception of the Bible; the relation between word and image; literary theory.
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