Stepbrothers: Southern Dutch Literature and Nation-Building under Willem I, 1814-1834

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The United Kingdom of the Netherlands (1815-1830) was a creation of the Congress of Vienna, where the map of Europe was redrawn following Napoleon’s defeat. Dutch language and literature were considered the essential tools to smoothly fuse the North and South – today, the Netherlands and Belgium respectively. King Willem I tried a variety of measures to stimulate and control literary life in the South, in an effort to encourage unity throughout his kingdom.

Janneke Weijermars describes the driving force of this policy and especially its impact in the South. For some authors, Northern Dutch literature represented the standard to which they aspired. For others, unification triggered a desire to assert their own cultural identity. The quarrels, mutual misunderstandings and subsequent polemics were closely intertwined with political issues of the day. Stepbrothers views the history of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands through a literary lens.
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Biographical Note

Dr. Janneke Weijermars (1977) teaches Modern Dutch Literature at the University of Groningen. She gained her PhD at the University of Antwerp in 2012. She has published monographs, articles and edited volumes about nineteenth- and twentieth-century Dutch literature and book history.

Acknowledgements ... ix
List of Illustrations ... xi

Introduction ... 1

Part 1: ‘Released from the French Yoke’, 1814–1819

1 The Language and the Literature ... 21
The Language Resolution of 1814 ... 21
Criticism of the Language Resolution ... 27
The Language Resolution in Literature ... 30

2 The Myth of Waterloo ... 40

3 The Book Publishing Industry ... 50
Press Freedom ... 50
Copyright ... 59
The Reprint ... 62
Attempts to Collaborate ... 67

4 The World of Literary Societies ... 70
In Defence of the Rhetorical Tradition ... 70
Chambers of Rhetoric under the Flag of Holland ... 72
Antwerp: Tot Nut der Jeugd ... 76

5 Aen de Belgen (1818) ... 81
‘An Undefended Case’ ... 81
United in History and Freedom ... 84
Willems’ Family ... 88

6 Epilogue ... 93

Part 2: ‘The Dawn of Freedom, Civilisation and Prosperity’, 1819–1825

7 Education and Literature ... 101
The Situation in Education ... 101
Main Points of Education Policy ... 103
Appointments ... 105
Prejudices, Misfortunes and Abuses ... 108
Successes and Failures ... 112
The Significance of Anthologies, Handbooks and Histories of Literature ... 114

8 The World of Literary Societies ... 121
The Literary Societies ... 121
The Chambers of Rhetoric ... 138
Society for the Benefit of All ... 142

9 The Book Publishing Industry ... 155
Trade in ‘Dutch Books’ ... 155
Attempts to Collaborate ... 157
French Translations ... 159
The Reprint and the Association ... 163

10 Epilogue ... 166

Part 3: The Parting of Minds, 1825–1830

11 Religion and Literature ... 173
A Problematic Royal Decree ... 173
Willems’ ‘Moderate Catholicism’ ... 175
‘A Hundred Eyes and Still Blind’: The Journal De Argus ... 177

12 The World of Literary Societies ... 183
‘Institutions of the Devil’ ... 183
New Societies in Lier and Eeklo ... 187

13 Literature ... 194
The Belgische Muzen-Almanak (1826–1830) ... 194
The Almanak voor Blijgeestigen (1826–1831) ... 203
De Argus (1825–1826) ... 206

14 The Book Publishing Industry ... 212
Laurens Janszoon Coster as a Divisive Element ... 212
Attempts to Collaborate ... 216

15 Epilogue .... 224

Epilogue, 1830–1834

16 The Belgian Revolution and Literature ... 237
The South ... 237
The North ... 244
The Belgian Revolution in Literature ... 246

17 Commentary ... 250

Notes to Literature References ... 253
Bibliography ... 290
Index ... 310

All interested in nineteenth-century Western European nation-building, literature and book history.

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