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Dutch Crossing: Journal of Low Countries Studies 38.1 (March 2013)

1 March 2014

Dutch Crossing : Journal of Low Countries Studies

At the beginning of this first issue of 2014 let me draw your attention to the forthcoming tenth biennial conference of the Association for Low Countries Studies, which under the theme of Discord and Consensus will be held at University College London and the (new) Dutch Centre in the (old) Dutch Church at Austin Friars in the City of London,1 in September 2014. All countries, regions, and institutions are ultimately built on a degree of consensus, on a collective commitment to a concept, belief, or value system. This consensus is continuously rephrased and reinvented through a narrative of cohesion and challenged by expressions of discontent and discord. The history of the Low Countries is characterized by both a striving for consensus and eruptions of discord both internally or through outside challenges. In the centenary year of World War I (1914), which the Netherlands was lucky to be spared but Belgium and Luxembourg had to endure heavily, two centuries (and a bit) after the Battle of Waterloo and the reunification of the Low Countries in the Kingdom of the United Netherlands (1813–14), and three centuries after the Peace of Utrecht (1713), we thought this to be an appropriate theme for an interdisciplinary conference which aims to explore consensus and discord in a Low Countries context along and across broad cultural, linguistic, and historical lines, and interpret the conference theme in the broadest possible sense.

Topics may include for example: contemporary and historical representation of conflict and dissent in visual art and literature; counter-cultural art practices and dissenting narratives; social cohesion and the imaginative; language as a source of social conflict or harmony; language standardization processes within and across the Low Countries; competing linguistic norms and conflicts over the status of language varieties; conflicting approaches to language pedagogy; discord and/or consensus emerging from studies of lexis, semantics, pragmatics, and syntax.

We invite both individual contributions (twenty-minute presentations followed by ten minutes of discussion) and proposals for fully constituted panels (ninety-minute themed panel of three speakers). We specifically invite postgraduate students and a number of travel bursaries will be available. For more information and to submit proposals please visit the conference website and proposal submission system. The primary criterion for selection will be the quality of the proposal, not its connection to the conference theme. Selected conference papers will be considered for publication in Dutch Crossing: Journal of Low Countries Studies.

On to the present issue. Christopher Joby (Seoul) looks at the role of London and other English cities in the development of early modern Dutch language and literature, an aspect often considered to be marginal and therefore overlooked in accounts of the emergence of the standard language. He demonstrates how three developments in Dutch language and literature — the publication of religious literature, the writing of the first Dutch grammar, and the writing of sonnets in Dutch — each owes something to the presence of Dutch or Flemish speakers in London in the second half of the sixteenth century. For every case, he considers how these developments have been recorded or neglected in general histories of Dutch language and literature and, following Richard J. Watts, concludes by offering a model for how general histories of languages can avoid adopting a deterministic ‘tunnel view’ of language developments towards a normed standard variety.

Frederica van Dam’s (Ghent) article sheds light on an unpublished and little-known manuscript, entitled Tableau Poétique, by the sixteenth-century Flemish portrait painter, poet, and writer Lucas D’Heere (1534–84), preserved in the library of Arbury Hall in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England. Her discovery and study of the manuscript reveals important new information on the background, life, and work of the protestant refugee to England D’Heere, his professional activities as a painter, and his social network in exile.

Cornelis van der Haven (Ghent) explores the ways in which commercial knowledge is presented in eighteenth-century theatre texts from Amsterdam and Hamburg. His interpretation reveals the bearing of the different positions on the exchange of this knowledge in these texts and addresses the ways in which the power structures of dramatic texts were transformed in order to open up the private sphere to discussions on public topics like the stock trade.

From an adaptation studies angle, Jeroen Dera (Nijmegen) investigates the creative reception of Gerard Reve’s De avonden (‘The Evenings’) — Reve’s key novel from 1947 and, according to the readers of the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad, one of the top ten Dutch language novels of all time.3 Combining approaches from film studies, comics studies and literary criticism, Dera discusses, literary, cinematic and graphic novel versions of Reve’s De avonden, reading the dissimilar adaptations as interpretations of a hypotext, reappearing in a new context and a new medium, rather than as copies of an ‘original’.

Laura Lech and Maarten Klein (Lublin) discuss androgyny in the writings of Loui­s Couperus (1863–1923) and Hugo Claus (1929–2008). After discussing androgyny and its religious and philosophical background in art around the turn of the century, they show what can be found on the subject in Couperus’s works, especially in the novel De berg van licht (‘The Mountain of Light’, 1905–06) and in Hugo Claus’s novel Jessica!, in which the Flemish master introduces a character that is entirely based on his great predecessor from the fin de siècle. Although Couperus and Claus seem to be totally different authors, they both conclude that androgyny should be considered to be an ideal, albeit in different ways.

As always best wishes for good reading!

Ulrich Tiedau

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Page last modified on 02 feb 12 13:17 by Ulrich Tiedau