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Judith Pollmann

Abstract

The schoolmistress and best-selling poet Anna Bijns was one of the few laypeople in the sixteenth-century Netherlands who was prepared publicly to fight for the Catholic cause. This article contends that Bijns's work, exceptional as it was, reflects a "moral" understanding of the problem of heresy that was not unique to her, but that exemplified the way in which many clerics responded to the threat of Protestantism. They equated heresy with sin, and argued that this required a penitential response from all in society. Yet by contending that each "order" in society was best left to fight its own sins, and that "each should tend his own garden" their arguments also created the impression that heresy was first and foremost a clerical problem. This may help explain the "passive" way in which Catholics in the Netherlands, as well as in many other parts of Northwestern Europe, responded to the Reformation.

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Judith Pollmann and Andrew Spicer

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Edited by Judith Pollmann and Andrew Spicer

Was there such a thing as 'public opinion' before the age of newspapers and party politics? The essays in this collection show that in the Low Countries, at least, there certainly was. In this highly urbanised society, with high literacy rates and good connections, news and public debate could spread fast in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, enabling the growth of powerful opposition movements against the Crown, the creation of the Dutch Republic, and of the distinctive Netherlandish culture of the Golden Age.

Contributors include: Hugh Dunthorne, Raingard Esser, Jonathan Israel, Gustaaf Janssens, Henk van Nierop, Guido Marnef, M.E.H. Nicolette Mout, Andrew Pettegree, Judith Pollmann, Paul Regan*, Andrew Sawyer*, Jo Spaans, Andrew Spicer*, and Juliaan Woltjer. (* Supervised by Alastair Duke)
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Edited by Robert Stein and Judith Pollmann

‘Nationalism’ may be a modern phenomenon, but national identities are not. The medieval and early modern Low Countries are a case in point. In this myriad of political and clerical territories, identities proved dynamic. Princes and rebels, soldiers and poets, all played a part in the shaping of new imagined communities. The essays in this volume show how regional and interregional identities developed, old ones survived, and novel ones came into being. They offer a fascinating insight into the continuities and discontinuities in the formation of (national) identities in the Low Countries and its neighbouring countries – and are an important contribution to the ongoing debates about national and other identities.