This book reveals the fundamental role rape played in promoting Dutch solidarity from 1609-1725. Through the identification of particular enemies, it directed attention away from competing regional, religious, and political loyalties. Patriotic Protestant authors highlighted atrocities committed by the Spanish and lower-class criminals. They conversely cast Dutch men as protectors of their wives and daughters – an appealing characterization that allowed the Dutch to take pride in a sense of moral superiority and justify the Dutch Revolt. After the conclusion of peace with Spain in 1648, marginalized authors, including Catholic priests and literary women, employed depictions of rape to subtly advance their own agendas without undermining political stability. Rape was thus essential in the development and preservation of a common identity that paved the way for the Dutch defeat of the mighty Spanish empire and their rise to economic pre-eminence in Europe.
Women and Gender in the Early Modern Low Countries, 1500-1750 brings together research on women and gender across the Low Countries, a culturally contiguous region that was split by the Eighty Years' War into the Protestant Dutch Republic in the North and the Spanish-controlled, Catholic Hapsburg Netherlands in the South.
The authors of this interdisciplinary volume highlight women’s experiences of social class, as family members, before the law, and as authors, artists, and patrons, as well as the workings of gender in art and literature. In studies ranging from microhistories to surveys, the book reveals the Low Countries as a remarkable historical laboratory for its topic and points to the opportunities the region holds for future scholarly investigations.
Contributors: Martine van Elk, Martha Howell, Martha Moffitt Peacock, Sarah Joan Moran, Amanda Pipkin, Katlijne Van der Stighelen, Margit Thøfner, and Diane Wolfthal.