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Frans-Willem Korsten

Abstract

Making History (In-)Cohere: An African and Africanism in Joost van den Vondel’s Palamedes (1625)

In a seventeenth-century Dutch allegorical play called Palamedes, written by poet and playwright Joost van den Vondel in 1625, an African appears in one of the chorus texts. The play was an allegory because it addressed, in a veiled way, the history of the political murder on Holland’s primary statesman, Johan van Oldenbarnevelt. All the characters in the play represented historical actors in that history. The African is also an allegorical figure, but he points to an entirely different history: that of the European encounter with, and imagination of, Africa. In the light of this history the way in which this African is depicted is an example of early European Africanism. Whereas the two histories of political murder and of the European entanglement with Africa seem disconnected, the connection is that both provoke the question as to the way in which history could be seen as coherent, developing itself according to a divine plan. For political, cultural and religious reasons the question was too dangerous to ask at the time. It was, however, hinted at through the figure of the African.

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Frans-Willem Korsten

Abstract

In the last decades St Paul has been at the centre of debates on the relation between (radical) politics and religion. Taking a painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder as point of departure – a painting that depicts the moment when Saul is struck – this article investigates the quasi-theological role that art has been given by important thinkers longing for the revolutionary New. By turning Gilles Deleuze and Hannah Arendt into allies, this article first of all explores the political derailment of fabrication caused by the turn towards sovereignty and then investigates how art could get back its potential to enhance the body’s power to act by means of its connection with ‘earth’.

Open Access

Series:

Jan Bloemendal and Frans-Willem Korsten

Open Access

Series:

Jan Bloemendal and Frans-Willem Korsten