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Herman Brinkman

Abstract

The German poet/philologist Hoffmann von Fallersleben (1798-1874) was celebrated during his lifetime for his pioneering work on medieval Dutch literature; after his death his philological merits were questioned. This article attempts to place Hoffmann’s pioneering work in perspective, taking into consideration his objectives in searching, listing and editing medieval Dutch folk song. Special attention is given to discrepancies between his research strategies in Germany and in the Netherlands. A muted response to his several appeals to Dutch literati to forward samples of medieval song, as well as his literary taste and preconceptions about what he believed was the extinction of a native song culture in Holland, prevented Hoffmann from recording the living heritage of folk song in the Netherlands. Hoffmanns views as an editor are also discussed with respect to his other, less academic objective: restoring medieval folk song to popularity.

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Herman Brinkman

Abstract

The composition of the library of John IV of Nassau (1410-75) and his wife Mary van Loon (1424-1502) has been reconstructed on the basis of data from a fifteenth-century book list, surviving manuscripts and seventeenth- and eighteenth-century catalogues. The collection was possibly made up of at least 29 volumes which in the main dealt with devotion and catechesis. In contrast to their son Engelbert II whose collection of books manifests a pronounced Burgundian taste, John and Mary specialised in collecting rather plainly executed manuscripts with both Dutch and German texts.

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Edited by Luigi Giuliani, Herman Brinkman, Geert Lernout and Marita Mathijsen

Texts in multiple versions constitute the core problem of textual scholarship. For texts from antiquity and the medieval period, the many versions may be the result of manuscript transmission, requiring editors and readers to discriminate between levels of authority in variant readings produced along the chain of copying. For texts of all periods, and particularly for more modern authors, there may also be multiple authorial versions. These are of particular importance for genetic criticism, as they offer a window on the author’s thinking through the developing work. The different contexts in which multiple versions may occur – different languages, different genres, different cultures, ranging in this collection from ancient Greek texts to novels by Cervantes and Aub, dramatic texts from Portugal and Germany, poetry from The Netherlands and Lithuania, scientific texts from the 19th century – provide further layers of complexity. The histories of countries are reflected in the histories of editing. In Europe, this can be seen particularly in the great period of ‘nation-building’ of the 19th century. Essays in this volume survey editorial activity in The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany in the nineteenth century, concluding that nation building and scholarly editing are twinned. As a nation searches for its own identity, textual scholarship is pressed into service to find and edit the texts on which to establish that identity. The two strands of this volume (multiple versions of texts; editions and national histories) testify to the centrality of textual editing to many fields of research. There is material here for literary scholars, historians, and for readers interested in texts from Ancient Greece to modernist classics.