Dynamics of Neo-Latin and the Vernacular

Project 4 – The Role of Language, Self-Representation and Self-Presentation in the Reception of ‘Dutch’ Literature in the Early Seventeenth Century

The title of this postdoctoral project shows that its object is to extrapolate the research of all three PhD projects and to synthesize their results in a general monograph on the subject of Dynamics of Neo-Latin and the Vernacular (original project description). To do so, the postdoctoral researcher will not only use the material on the four poets from the Low Countries (Cats, Grotius, Heinsius and Vondel) provided by the PhD projects, but also study a personal selection of Latin documents written by contemporary authors such as Barlaeus, Baudius, Dousa and Huygens.

The main methodological framework for this study will be found in the approach of dynamic functionalism, and more specifically polysystem theory as developed by Itamar Even-Zohar (e.g. Even-Zohar). There are several reasons to do so. First of all, as the object of this research is not to study the concept of bilingualism, the occurrences of self-(re)presentation or the instances of German reception, but the dynamics of Latin versus the vernacular, the role of self-(re)presentation and the process of cultural transmission, the functionalist approach of PS theory will be very suited to study these procedures, interdependencies and such, rather than individual authors, books or texts. Still, we will also try to integrate the study of individual literary intentionality in the functionalist and systemic approach (cf. Deneire – Lauwers). Second, PS theory has since the start had intimate ties with translation studies and ultimately turned into a study of literary interference and intercultural relations. Accordingly, all dimensions of the Dynamics-project (i.e. literary, social, cultural) can be accommodated. Third, whereas other models might have difficulties with our specific situation of considering all contemporary literary strata, i.e. Latin-Dutch poetry, vernacular-Dutch poetry, Latin-German and vernacular-German poetry, both individually and in close interrelation, PS theory is ideally equipped to view these as different systems within one polysystem. Finally, all three research angles of our project, i.e. language (project 1), self-(re)presentation and imaging (project 2), and reception (project 3), play pivotal roles in the concept of the literary polysystem (as repertoire, dynamic stratification and interference), which allows for an ideal set-up to maintain our primary research focus.

As stated, this research should result in a synthesizing monograph, which will consist of different essays and case studies highlighting the different figures, questions and approaches of this project. Some working-titles of such essays include:

Selected literature:

Dr Tom Deneire

postdoctoral researcher, Huygens Instituut

room 15.214 – telefoon: 0031-703315834

post address: PO Box 90754, 2509 LT Den Haag

visiting address: Prins Willem-Alexanderhof 5, 2595 BE Den Haag



Last update: 14 September 2010