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In: Free Access to the Past


Editing procedures for early Dutch literature went through four stages. Initially, in the eighteenth century, the main concern was the origins of the Dutch language. Next came a stage (decisively influenced by initiatives of German scholars) of collection and description with a view to the literary interest of early texts. This is the period when texts which nowadays still belong to the canon emerged from archival collections and libraries. The scholars involved also began to prepare editions by way of a scholarly and, as a rule, individual effort (third stage). By the 1840s this gave way to a concerted effort by five unruly Dutch junior scholars to professionalise editing procedures. They founded the ‘Association for the Advancement of Early Dutch Literature’, which made its mark with a feverish production of editions. The Association existed for a mere five years; yet in that short timespan it managed to alter editorial practice from the ground up and to effect a complete overhaul of the available knowledge of medieval Dutch literature.

In: Editing the Nation’s Memory
In: Private: do (not) enter


Until the middle of the nineteenth century no scholarly edition had been published of the complete works of the most renowned poet and playwright of the Dutch Golden Age: Joost van den Vondel (1587-1679). Jacob van Lennep, one of the most renowned authors of the nineteenth century, took it upon himself to edit such a publication, augmented with especially-made illustrations, a biography and explanatory notes. It was published in twelve volumes by Hijman Binger in Amsterdam between 1850 and 1869. The project took much longer than Van Lennep could foresee, because there were many widespread works and editions of Vondel’s writings that had never been studied before. Although there were quite a few subscriptions, the project did not do well financially. In 1862 Van Lennep founded a ‘Society for the Continued Edition and Exploitation of the Works of J. van Vondel’, with shares of a thousand florins each.

After completion of the de luxe edition Binger and Van Lennep would also publish a trade edition, but another publisher beat them to it. He was charged with plagiarism, but Binger and Van Lennep lost the lawsuit as the copyright laws of the time were not in their favour. When Van Lennep died in August 1868, he had just completed the last volume.

In: Quaerendo
Romanticism, Cultural Heritage and the Nation
Throughout Europe, nostalgia and modernization embraced around 1800: the rise of historicism coincided with the emergence of the modern nation-state. Poetical, cultural changes intersected with political, institutional ones: a Romantic taste for medieval or tribal antiquity benefited from a modernization-driven transfer of cultural relics into the public sphere. This process involved the establishment of museums, libraries, archives and university institutes, as well as the dissemination of historical knowledge through text editions, philological studies, historical novels, plays, operas and paintings, monuments and restorations. Antiquaries, philologists and historians produced a new past and rendered history a matter of public, national interest and collective identification.
This international and interdisciplinary collection explores the romantic-historicist complexities at the root of the modern nation-state.

Contributors are Ellinoor Bergvelt, Eveline G. Bouwers, Peter Fritzsche, Paula Henrikson, Sharon Ann Holt, Lotte Jensen, Krisztina Lajosi, Joep Leerssen, Susanne Legêne, Marita Mathijsen, Mathias Meirlaen, Peter Rietbergen, Anne-Marie Thiesse, and Robert Verhoogt.
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.