cover of book

Narratives of Low Countries History and Culture: Reframing the Past
edited by Jane Fenoulhet and Lesley Gilbert
University College London, 2016
Cloth: 978-1-910634-97-4 | Paper: 978-1-910634-98-1
Library of Congress Classification DH71
Dewey Decimal Classification 949.2

This edited collection explores the ways in which our understanding of the past in Dutch history and culture can be rethought to consider not only how it forms part of the present but how it can relate also to the future. Divided into three parts – The Uses of Myth and History, The Past as Illumination of Cultural Context, and Historiography in Focus – this book seeks to demonstrate the importance of the past by investigating the transmission of culture and its transformations. It reflects on the history of historiography and looks critically at the products of the historiographic process, such as Dutch and Afrikaans literary history. The chapters cover a range of disciplines and approaches: some authors offer a broad view of a particular period, such as Jonathan Israel's contribution on myth and history in the ideological politics of the Dutch Golden Age, while others zoom in on specific genres, texts or historical moments, such as Benjamin Schmidt’s study of the doolhof, a word that today means ‘labyrinth’ but once described a 17th-century educational amusement park. This volume, enlightening and home to multiple paths of enquiry leading in different directions, is an excellent example of what a past-present doolhof might look like.

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