Amsterdam Centre for the Study of the Golden Age

Photographer: Jeroen Jansen

dr. J. (Jeroen) Jansen

  • Faculty of Humanities
    Capaciteitsgroep Nederlandse Letterkunde
  • Visiting address
    P.C. Hoofthuis
    Spuistraat 134  
  • Postal address:
    Spuistraat  134
    1012 VB  Amsterdam
    T: 0205254604
    T: 0205253391
  • Director Dutch Studies of the College of Humanities
  • Assistant Professor of Dutch literature


Academic profile

Jeroen Jansen specializes in the impact of humanism and the revival of learning in Renaissance Netherlands, rhetoric, textual and literary criticism, argumentation and style. My current research interests seek all kinds of strategies, as seen from historical pragmatics, speech act theory, the grammar of Dutch, rhetoric, causation and framing theory. Previous projects include Dutch and European literature, rhetoric, literary criticism and style. My major publications include Brevitas (1995), Decorum (2001) and Imitatio (2008).



Research focus

  • The impact of humanism and the revival of learning in Renaissance Netherlands
  • Rhetoric, textual and literary criticism
  • Argumentation and style
  • Strategies, as seen from historical pragmatics, speech act theory,
  • The grammar of Dutch
  • Causation
  • Framing theory


Current projects

  • Causality in Dutch historiographic texts in the Early Modern period
  • Pretextual Strategies. The Rhetoric of Ethos, Literary Authority and (Con)Textual Identity in Renaissance Preliminary Texts. 
  • Cultural memory, rhetoric and literary discourse
  • Bredero, Spanish Brabanter. TiC edition


Curriculum Vitae

Academic Career


Programme director BA Dutch Studies (Opleidingsdirecteur BA Neerlandistiek).

Research: causality in Dutch historiographic texts in the Early Modern period


2010- present

Master's coordinator of the Research Master Dutch Golden Age Studies,  coordinator of the Master Gouden Eeuw and Minor Gouden Eeuw.

Research: Cultural memory, rhetoric and literary discourse



Lecturer / Assistant Professor in Dutch literature
Department of Dutch, University of Amsterdam

Reseach: Pretextual Strategies. The Rhetoric of Ethos, Literary Authority and (Con)Textual Identity in Renaissance Preliminary Texts



VIDI, NWO, Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research
Department of Dutch, University of Amsterdam

Research: Imitation: between Plagiarism and Originality. The Scope and Boundaries  of Textual Imitation (imitatio auctorum) in European Literature from c. 1500 to c. 1700: Italy, France, Netherlands



Research Fellow KNAW, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences

Department of Dutch, University of Amsterdam

Research: Decorum. Observation on literary propriety in Renaissance poetics



VENI, NWO, Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research
Department of Dutch, University of Amsterdam

Research:Stylistic ideas in Dutch literature between 1600 and 1670, especially concerning perspicuity



Assistant researcher
Department of Dutch, University of Amsterdam


Academic Training



Faculty of Arts, University of Amsterdam.
PhD: April, 24, 1995
Thesis: Brevitas. Opinions on formal and stylistic brevity in the Renaissance



Classics, Faculty of Arts, University of Amsterdam



Dutch literature, Faculty of Arts, University of Amsterdam
MA: May, 1987
Thesis: Aulularia - Warenar, adaptation contrasted

Research interests


My research interests include the phenomenon of strategy (strategic positioning, strategic acting, author’s strategies, etc.), on the basis of insights from classical rhetoric to modern argumentation theory, from classical `ethos’ to framing, negotiation tactics, and strategic maneuvering. In the analysis of historical texts I integrate recent developments from historical linguistics, pragmatics and argumentation theory.


Joost van den Vondel

Vondel's `Aenleidinge ter Nederduytsche dichtkunste'

A recently published article concerns the issue of polyphony and dialogisms in a rather interesting prose text by Joost van den Vondel, as it is written by this famous poet and one of the scarce examples of Dutch literary criticism of the mid seventeenth century. This text is the preface to Vondel's edition of Poetry (1650), with the title:  `Aenleidinge ter Nederduytsche dichtkunste' (Introduction to Dutch poetry).



The 'Aenleidinge ter Nederduitsche dichtkunste' by Joost van den Vondel is a prose introduction to a new edition of his Poëzy (1650), in which Vondel writes down advices for the way arriving poets can qualify themselves in poetry. These recommendations vary from basic conditions (having talent) up to a number of advices for advanced, talented poets (e.g. how to imitate). Studies from the seventies of the last century by S.F. Witstein, E.K. Grootes and L. Strengholt have emphasized the didactic character of the text and the fact that it is modelled to Horace's Ars poetica . The structure of the 'Aenleidinge' is central to these analyses, all of which reached a different classification, anyway. My analysis aims at polyphony and dialogism, in particular at finding and constructing dialogues. Certain elements encourage such a way of reading. The conditional subordinate clause, the use of modal adverbs, the negation, and the change between a 'hij' (he, the poet) and a 'gij' (you, a person addressed) indicate polyphony to which shreds of 'single lessons' resound. In all these cases dialogues can be (re)constructed. The analysis on underlying 'voices' allows infinite (general) interpretations, but can also indicate certain cases in a finite (concrete) way. Concerning this last point I have found additional material in the nature of the text and in the context. I consider the `Aenleidinge' not particularly as a poetics in which Vondel displays his erudition and tries to imitate or vie with Horace, but rather as the reproduction of cases from Vondel's own practice in his confrontation with arriving poets, who let him read their work and asked him to comment on it. The 'Aenleidinge' then may have been for Vondel also a medium to slightly diminish the number of poets who came to his house for consultation. That his comment is impregnated of Horacian conceptions seems logic given the predominating position of this traditional authority in seventeenth-century poetics.

A quite old article of mine is `The Aulularia edition which served as basis for the Warenar', published in 1994. It  examines the question which edition of the Aulularia of Plautus P.C. Hooft used when he adapted this Latin play to the Dutch comedy Warenar (1617). The method followed consists in an analysis of (1) manuscripts and (2) printed editions of the comedies of Plautus from the editio princeps (1472) to 1617. By selecting relevant passages in the Aulularia and comparing these in all Aulularia recensions with the Warenar, a process of elimination leads to the edition which probably served as the model.

How has Bredero being an `illiterate' writer coped with Antiquity?

 ‘Gerbrand Bredero's handling of Antiquity. Transfer of classical knowledge into seventeenth century vernacular culture'. In: Bettina Noak (eds.). Wissenstransfer und Auctoritas in der frühneuzeitlichen niederländischsprachigen Literatur. Reihe Berliner Mittelalter- und Frühneuzeitforschung. Göttingen; V & R – unipress, 2014,  211-226.

New article in a new periodical about Jacob Duym's argumentative approch in his Ghedenck-boeck (1606)


‘That is where God comes in. Jacob Duym's Ghedenck-boeck (1606) as argumentati­ve discourse’, in: Arte Nuevo. Revista de Estudios áureos 1 (2014), 40-63

(push the right-angled image of the periodical in the left )

Remembering heroism. Mythology and history in Jacob Duym's Nassausche Perseus (1606)



In Nassausche Perseus (1606) Jacob Duym uses the Ovidian myth of Perseus to illustrate historical progress in the period between the arrival and departure (1567-1573) of the Duke of Alba in and from the Netherlands. The text interferes between two worlds, as the play tells the story of the myth and highlights actual historical events of the Revolt in between. The poet, being one of the characters in this play, steers the understanding by addressing a prologue and epilogue, and by explaining the allegory a few times in between. This article gives an analysis of the special way in which the text creates a dynamic process between past and present, between fiction and reality. It is shown how the myth, as a narrative strategy, has been exploited as to actualize history, in order to persuade the readers to think in a direction desired by the author.

Article in Dutch.  `Heldendom in herinnering. Mythologie en geschiedenis in Jacob Duyms Nassausche Perseus’, in: Spiegel der Letteren 56.2 (2014), p. 155-181.

Pfd below

G.J. Vossius on imitation

In 2012 my review article was published concerning the edition of Vossius's Poetics  (Jan Bloemendal, Eds.), in: Nieuwsbrief Neolatinistenverband , no 25 (sept. 2012).


Summary of: Jeroen Jansen. Imitatio. Literaire navolging (imitatio auctorum) in de Europese letterkunde van de renaissance (1500-1700). Hilversum,Verloren, 2008

Renaissance literary authors based their texts on existing material. Within certain boundaries, this practice of adaptation nevertheless offered all kinds of possibilities for creative expression and originality. In view of the ubiquity of imitatio auctorum in the literary theory and practice of this period, it has never been explained why we know so little about the ways in which imitation could be learnt. In Renaissance poetics, the phenomenon is also seldom discussed, and a description of the procedure itself remains lacking: what did imitation in school entail, how much could be taught, and how much depended on the presence of talent, but also: what effect did the practice have on the great (and less successful) poet, and in which forms of imitation do we see the results of education, professional skills, and talent? This research examines the situation of the Netherlands in their cultural relation to nations like Italy and France, offering insight into the question how such concepts as natura and ars influenced the phenomenon of 'imitation.' That is to say, it asks to what extent imitation was considered a learnable phenomenon: the possibilities to learn to imitate are at the basis of this research. The most important aspects of school practice will be dealt with in part II ('in school'), which focuses on treatises used in education or produced with the developing young poet in mind. Part III ('the literary field') then examines the considerations, motivations and obstacles of adult, more or less successful authors.

In the first part, by way of introduction I will discuss a number of assumptions and principles in order to refine my research question. The extent to which imitation can be learnt, does indeed seem to be a crucial concept. It is no coincidence that the advice concerning imitation in major poetic treatises does not reallyadd to what would already have been taught in basic exercises in grammar school. The outstanding achievements of successful authors were unattainablefor others, simplybecause the 'success factor' could not be learnt. A lot depended, after all, on the talent and creativity of the imitating poet. The aspects of imitation that could be learnt, were mostly dealt with in school programmes, theoretic dissertations (in whatever form), and literary practice. In the analysis of successful literary texts, it is often not easy to interpret the changes made in comparison to the example with a degree of certainty. To illustrate what sort of analysis seventeenth-century authors would have had to make to learn from the literary practice of their successful colleagues, chapter 1 briefly analyses two plays by famous playwrights of which the sources are known: Joost van den Vondel's Jeptha and Samuel Coster's Polyxena . Both playwrights added material, cut verses and passages, rearranged the text, portrayed characters in a slightly different light, and changed expressions and structure. They apparently did so in order to create a new, coherent and fully-fledged Dutch drama, which would be appreciated by a new audience and which accorded to certain of their own views (tastes) and poetic preferences. These preferences were either formulated in terms of classical poetics (Horace, Aristotle), or came into existence through their reinterpretation (Heinsius, Vossius). Also, the poet could adjust his material to theological questions (in the case of Vondel), and adapt it to contemporary fashions (the avoidance of monologues, horror) and current events. It is only by an intensive analysis of example and imitation that we can draw conclusions about the practice and the possible backgrounds of adaptation.

Chapter 2 outlines the interpretative problems surrounding the phenomenon of imitation, to survey the width of the field of research, and to further hone the research question. The concept ofimitationwas constantlyredefined in various contexts over the centuries, and depends also on culture, language and period, the intention of the author's definition, his perspective as well as the function of the definition in the whole of his text. To refine the research question, this chapter examines in detail a number of important problems in the study of textual imitation in theory and practice. The different definitions and descriptions of the phenomenon of imitation reflect social and temporal circumstances (the Renaissance versus the Romantic period), and are attuned to the depth and nature of the treatise in question (didactics versus topica ), the intention of the author (analysis of a literary phenomenon versus rhetorical practice), or the presumed level of knowledge of the reader (scholars, beginning poets, students). The enormous scope of the phenomenon appears from the analysis of contemporary ideasofimitation, for example in Gilio's Topica Poetica , Partenio's Della Imitatione Poetica and Scaliger's Poetices Libri Septem .What is more, the subject also relates to and overlaps with other forms of imitation, such as mimesis ( imitatio naturae ) and the moral imitation of exemplary persons ( imitatio morum ). These forms do not seldom lead to a certain amount of terminological confusion. It is not surprising that in past and present attempts to grasp such a diverse and layered poetical phenomenon, divisions into sorts and gradations were devised. In its most simple form, these are no more than distinctions between good and bad imitation, that is to say between a more creative and a more slavish approach to the source text. Here, too, the gradations are fluid and depend on subjective observation. More nuanced divisions provide for various sorts of 'good imitation', a more slavish next to a more creative variant. The latter represents a more mature, that is to say more original, mode of adaptation. These historical attempts at categorization, however, offer no more than slippery handles on ordering and managing the diffuse theory and an even more capricious practice.

It makes a crucial difference whether an adaptation is simultaneously a translation, or is carried out on a text from within the same language. A Neo-Latin author had an enormous store of canonical texts at his disposition, unlike a poet who wrote in the vernacular. The latter was also engaged in the consolidation of his own language in this period, searching for expressions and forging powerful turns of phrase. There are considerable differences also with regard to the choice of subject: it matters greatly whether a tragedy was based on historical or biblical material, taken from a mythological cycle, or was selected, reworked and adapted from a well-known epos. A new target audience, genre conventions and prevailing norms influenced the processofimitation, forcing the imitating author tofollow his example(s) closely in some cases, and to swerve from them in others, sometimes making him alter the material considerably, sometimes merely causing him reorder and make a selection.

This chapter also explores other aspects that lead to the unravelling of the question to what extent imitation can be learnt, such as the differences between stylistic imitation and imitation of content, the extent to which imitation in and of the vernacular differs from the practice in the Respublica literaria , and, finally, the question whether or not imitation was consciously done.

The second part of this research focuses on school practice. Chapter 3 discusses the custom of analytic reading. Statements by canonical authors about their reading behaviour provide clues about various ways of reading, which in turn depend on their specific goal and intended effect. Schools mainly propagated analytic reading, to encourage the pupil to examine content and style, and teach him to select useful material in examples. The argumentation used and the structure of the text to be read   prepared the pupil for independent appropriation of the material. This process was in the Renaissance frequently expressedbymeans of a metaphor of eating and processing (ruminating, digesting) food. Notebooks and commonplace books   supported this method of critical reading. Ready-made turns of phrase forged a necessary link between reading and imitation: expressions that pupils initially could not remember, they noted down and learnt by rote. Erasmus in his programme for learning De Ratione Studii encouraged pupils to note down succinct expressions at the beginning and end of every book they read. These kinds of activities were a regular part at several levels of the school programme. They were aimed primarily at learning Latin. As an added bonus, the pupil acquainted himself witha wide range of authors, styles and kinds of language. The process of selection itself also had a function. It honed the mind and shaped the pupil's iudicium , which was of great use for the development of a successful imitatio auctorum. The manner in which expressions and turns of phrase were memorized, recalled at the right moment and applied, were considered part of individual creativity (and talent). Here, too, practice was indispensable: in De Copia, Erasmus distinguished twenty-six ways to incorporate a quotation into a text, and discussed in detail how sententiae, commonplaces and examples ought to be used. A special place in education was accorded to the classical progymnasmata , exercises that prepared for the writing of declamations or orations.

Ascham's Scholemaster (1570) was aimed at children who - in a system of lessons based on (Erasmus and) Sturmius - through translation and imitation needed to learn to understand, speak and write Latin (chapter 4). The procedures of 'metaphrasis' and 'paraphrasis' were used as exercises in this system, as practical preparation for the learning of imitation. Similarly, double translation (Latin-English-Latin) was used, to train knowledge of these languages, grammarand style, but also to practice variation in word choice on a fundamental level. Interesting also are Ascham's directions on how the pupil could analyse a passage in Cicero on the basis of a comparison with the source (Demosthenes). In the imitation of'good authors', sixteenth-century education used a theory that was largely founded on the tenth book of Quintilian's Institutio Oratoria. The illustrations as well as the recommended examples varied considerably, because the selection depended also on the didactics used. In general, however, the student's individual capacities were the point of departure. If the most prestigious classical authors (from the golden Latinity) were considered the most suitable examples, restrictions applied in the actual selection of examples: young pupils were given relatively easy passages in a manageable form, and the more complex genres were avoided.This way, less celebrated genres such as the pastoral and the elegy could be included in the lessons, as well as early work of better known authors. In order to develop a personal style, the pupil not only had to explore his individuality, but also needed to make an analysis of exemplary authors and texts, which required the prior sharpening of his insight ( iudicium ). This ability also helped him to determine the size of the passage he would copy, to cut passages in a meaningful way, or to insert passages of his own, as well as to develop his design ( verba), ordering and inventio . The initial phase in the development of style broadly consisted of an introduction to the top classical authors, followed by a focus on those authors that the pupil, in accordance with his disposition, was drawn to. Translation, a standard exercise in Latin school, improved proficiency while it also tested the pupil's comprehensionofthetext.

Thevariety of ways to adapt and enrich source texts, as discussed by Erasmus in De Copia Rerum , are discussedin chapter5.Adaptationisexecuted on two levels: that of language (style) and thought. Classical rhetoric had already developed a theory of these kinds of intervention, drawing attention to the process of adaptation as involving reduction and expansion, brief and extensive discussion of a subject. If a topic had been treated by an earlier author, this was no reason to avoid it, but one had to try to emulate one's predecessor. The use of rhetoric enabled authors to discuss the same topic in several ways, to be little a great subject, and to accord greatness to something small, for example, or to renew the old, and express the new in an old-fashioned manner. These ideas were welcomed in later periods, where they were mainly based onthe Rhetorica ad Herennium andQuintilian's Institutio Oratoria. They were referred to as quadripartita ratio, a number of basic rhetorical strategies with which language could be varied on a number of linguistic levels. They were obvious principles: expansion (adiectio ) of the material, abridgement (detractio ), switching (immutatio ) and transferring (transmutatio ) of parts of the text. Using these formulas, a pupil could render the same subject or theme in a myriad of ways. For the mature author, this principle offered a set of tools to rework source texts into a new creation. In short, the quadripartita ratio offered the student or author a ready-made framework, whether for changing words or the transformation of entire texts. Since it concerned relatively mechanical procedures of adaptation that for the most part could be learned, the techniques concerned could be taught at school at a relatively early age, for example in the improvement of pupils' own writing. This is also why these techniques are to be found in Renaissance poetics (Sturmius, Riccius) as well as in school books (Erasmus). However, they could also have been deduced from classical practice.

The third part of this book is devoted to the literary field: the manner in which the adult author dealt with literary theory and practice. Chapter 6 illustrates how Romans and Greeks, in Renaissance literary critique, found themselves in different domains of literary imitation. In periods or situations in which the theory called for originality, purity, naturalness and simplicity, the focus tended to be on Greek authors. The ultimate example of classical imitation was Virgil, while Homer, seen as the first poet, was more easily associated with the birth of poetry, and thereby with originality. The notion of birth was associated with the natural tendencyto represent, as well as the innate capacity to imitate and invent. Nevertheless, inventio could also be learnt to a certain extent, in so far as the poet was guided by his insight (iudicium ) to the right examples, and was able to treat these different models in a creative manner. The author's mental disposition was a determining factor in the choice of specific examples. This appears from instructions intended to stimulate the development of a personal style discussed in this chapter. From these instructions, it appears that the style to be imitated needed to accord to the personal character of the author to avoid any hint of artificiality.This was determined on the basis of similarity of character, education through faithful imitation and precise study of the example, but it was also seen as related to stylistic genealogies and nationalities.

Chapter 7 discusses the quotation as a separate form of imitation with its very own forms and functions. Faithful quotation was alien to a period in which the acknowledgement of authority, the stable foundation of one's own insights,andtheplayof thought were supposedly the primary reasons for the useof citation. Citation, especially the frequent use of material from florilegia rather than from the source itself, met with objections in literary criticism in which the poet's character was considered the most important aspect, whether from a Neo-Platonic perspective or not. Of all literary functions that can be assigned to the quotation in this period, that of the play of thought is perhaps the most fascinating, although for the researcher it is also the hardest to recover. A correct estimation of the intended effect, after all, requires knowledge of two contexts, as well as of the author and reader. That precisely this form was popular, especially in the genre of the scholar's letter, is undoubtedly related to this double pleasure: that of the reader who recognized the originalcontextand could judge the merits of the comparison, and that of the author in his presumed 'rivalry' with the example. Montaigne allowed his readers to share his specific interpretations of quotations. Allegedly applied from memory, quotations above all offered him a powerful means of expression. However lofty this may seem to us, we should not lose sight of the trivial side of this practice.We know that Montaigne was in the habit of using florilegia ,   and the esteemed practice of poetical inventio will in his case in all probability have involved leafing through these kinds of booklets.

Horace pointed out the necessity of a form of creativity and originality based on literary tradition ( famam sequere ). This play with old and new was continued in the Renaissance, both in the imitation of content as well as in stylistic replication (chapter 8). Petrarch in a number of his letters addressed the problem of literary dependency, and used the metaphor of bees to illustrate his view on the growth of personal style. The fact that style could only be developed under the influence of (admired) examples initially posed considerable problems forthe young author writing in the vernacular. Because Roman culture was considered to have great authority, the development of Italian, French, Dutch and all other vernacular European languages was hampered by a lack of self-consciousness. Imitation of the Classics could simultaneously have a stimulating and disheartening function, a paradox which appears only to have been resolved decennia later, when the vernacular practice became more confident, among others because of a critical distance to the Classics. In the Netherlands, this was really only to occur after 1650, in a period when the strong influence of French culture aided this process of emancipation.

Chapter 9 explains how creativity and originality gained a permanent position in literary reuse. Adaptations could leave unmentioned theirparallels to the sourcetext,but could also consciously flaunt them to their readers, inviting them to compare both versions (source and imitation). The imitation of biblical and historical material brought its own problems. Biblical material was popular for moral reasons, historical texts were fashionable in the context of the emerging nation state, but poetic interventions in the material were widely debated. The problem can be compared to deviation from the Classics, such as debates about the break with poetical tradition that always accompanied the genre of tragedy for various reasons (the material, names of characters, and formal aspects). One of the tempting aspects of deviation from the original was the taste of the public. An example is the call for machine plays (théâtre à machine), in the context of which Lodewyk Meijer wrote an extensive justification of the choice of material and the process of adaptation. At the same time, Meijer could build on a long poetical tradition that considered innovation and originality as the pillars of creative imitation.

The Renaissance is not just a period in which languages came into their own, but alsoa time when classical, pagan material was intertwined with Christian values (the concept of translatio studii).Sometimes, the competition between the classical and the Christian tradition was cursorily referred to as an explanation for the choice of a classical, pagan theme, encouraging the reader to recognize the Christian values in the topic. The extent to which originality was a constant focalpoint in the adaptation of existing material (a practice of adaptation nevertheless bound to strict Aristotelian rules) is demonstrated by Castelvetro. His demands of originality are particularly high: poetic inventions ought not to have been used before by another poet. If the tragedian reused historical events or the inventions of poets writing in another language, he was a mere 'translator'; if he recycled material from his own language, hewas a'thief.' The problemwas especiallypoignant in the reuse of familiar material from history: in the eyes of Castelvetro, those who changed the material were counterfeiters, but those who did not change anything,were guilty of theft.

Because the imitatio auctorum by definition harbours an element of originality, the seventeenth century leaves room for authors who desired novelty (novitas ). Also, literary practice made relatively high demands of the poet's inventiveness. Authors were also stimulated to engage in experiments with the manner in which nature was represented, for example, or the use of the imagination, the use of language (far-fetched comparisons, daring metaphors), the use of wit and the selection and manipulation of readers by a remarkable use of model texts that 'shifted' the context.

In chapter 10, a number of aspects concerning aemulatio are discussed from the perspective of literary criticism. A correct interpretation of the phenomenon as a product of its own time appears to be problematic. Based on the idea that imitation received a higher value from innovation and individual creation,the intention to emulate an example seems to be an integral part of the imitatio auctorum .Emulation has an important intentional function in legal and political rhetoric. In the 'poeticalisation' of such a clearly rhetorical concept, interpretative problems easily arise. Yet, the phenomenon is readily applied to all kinds of literary aspects, because of the self-evidence of competition (in whatever form we find it in schools). Throughout the Renaissance, we find essential thoughts on the subject in discussions about the imitation of one or more authors, and the eclecticism that is aimed at with regard to the specific characteristics of content and style of the source text. Generally, a strategy is chosen in which the author needs to select the best option from a number of examples ( Zeuxis ), for which (the developmentof) insight( iudicium )is required. For pupils the imitation of less authoritative authors seems an option for reasons of feasibility, while the (beginning) poet could improve himself by means of more famous models. In the literary field, aemulatio as a poetic phenomenon mainly functioned as a topos of praise, to emphasize the success of the imitated poets or his literary product. When others made statements about competition with or triumph over the source, this always concerns a value judgement.

In chapter 11, 'plagiarism' is examined as an aspect of imitatio auctorum . This appears to be a relatively elusive concept, because the accusation of literary theft is generally motivated by an evident value judgement, and is by definition subjective, for example where the theft of words is related to presumed deception and the misleading of the reader.To acquire any insight into the reasons for the accusation of plagiarism, an in-depth examination of the circumstances is necessary. These circumstances sometimes appeared to be determined by a presumed lack on inventiveness, time, talent, or thrift, too great a desire for fame,dishonesty, a personal feud, or by the reader's jealousy, pedantry and propaganda. These are all value judgements as well, which usually have an unverifiable character. The fact that there are almost no accusations of plagiarism to be found in the Dutch situation, in contrast to e.g. France and England, is probably unrelated to a high level of originality in the Republic, but rather caused by a different sense of literary individuality fed by the flourishing culture of the chambers of rhetoric. Nevertheless, the fact that the Netherlands knew only a few literary confrontations based on accusations of plagiarism perhaps tells us more about the relatively small scope of poetical discourse in the Dutch-speaking region, than about the presence or absence (and the judgement) of plagiarism in that area. After all, it is not probable that plagiarism did not receive attention among Dutch-speaking authors in the Renaissance.

More than once, accusations of plagiarism were refuted by referring to the praise accorded to an imitated poet in the text.That could be a classical celebrity, but also a lesser known contemporary. It is evident that plagiarism receives attention in all periods, all movements and all authorial visions characterized by a relatively high value attached to originality. That plagiarism was experienced as a problem in this period also appears from the relatively large amount of attention paid to obfuscation (among authors who wrote in Latin). Imitation without innovation or improvement and the all-too literal reproduction of an example from the same language caused problems for understandable reasons, especially in matters of style. Some conscious manipulation may be presumed where adjustments seem to be intended to keep the reader from discovering the direct source. Such 'masked plagiarism' was weighed according to the amount of directly translated text. In cases where the source author was not named, but the author did refer to the source language, no conscious deception seems to have beenintended.The selectivereferencing of sources can give a modern literary historian the wrong impression. Where classical models are, but contemporarymodelsare not acknowledged, we would tend to think of deceit. In a Renaissance context, however, other explanations were offered, such as the greater value and authority accorded to the Classics. In the reverse case, the assumption that the reader was familiar with the classical sources could also have been a factor. Each case has to be weighed in the light of possible attenuating circumstances.

Towards the end of the seventeenth century a remarkable amount of Latin treatises appeared that provided an overview of literary plagiarism (in certain periods) and/or their legal aspects with regard to copyright. It is possible that this sudden surge was related to the great expansion of the printing business in thisperiod. Itwas also atime inwhich copyright did not yet exist, but it was possible to announce an intended publication by advertising in the newspaper, to arm oneself against pirated editions. On the other hand, the growth in treatises about plagiarism could also be the result of changed ideas about originality and intellectual ownership in this period.


Copyright © Jeroen Jansen ( ). Please don't borrow the content of this summary without asking me first.

Research project: Pretextual Strategies. The Rhetoric of Ethos, Literary Authority and (Con)Textual Identity in Renaissance Preliminary Texts .

Gerbrand Adriaensz. Bredero (1585-1618)

The prose of Bredero. Preliminary strategies

Francesco Badens

Strategic maneuvering as an epistolary strategy, anno 1610

`Strategic maneuvering as an epistolary strategy, anno 1610’, In: Journal of Argumentation in Context 1:3.2012. (pp. 267–290) [you will find a link to the article below]


Summary: Around 1610 the Dutch author Gerbrand Bredero wrote a letter to his painting teacher Francesco Badens, asking for the loan of a painting to make a copy of it. The act of writing (a letter) asks for a proactive role in managing the reader(s)’ reactions. Although at first sight the letter may look like no more than a simple, insignificant and most of all polite piece of correspondence, it is argued that, from the viewpoint of strategic maneuvering, Bredero’s approach may be considered as a well-thought-out and potentially effective strategy, contributing to pinning Badens to a promise. An analysis from the perspective of argumentation theory allows us a better understanding of certain characteristics in this letter. Bredero’s choice from the ‘topical potential’ especially finds expression in proleptic formulated objections of the addressee to fulfilling his promise. Starting the letter from the seemingly low power situation of a pupil asking his master to do something, in every stage of the communication Bredero is aiming at a reasonable balance and turning this balance to his own advantage at the same time.


Keywords: proleptic argumentation, pragma-dialectical theory, felicity conditions, request, strategic maneuvering

Gerbrand Bredero wants to borrow a painting. Proleptic negotiation    

In: Journal of Dutch Literature 4.1 (2013), p. 62-87.


In a letter to Badens, his painting teacher, Gerbrand Bredero asks for the loan of a painting to make a copy of it. The act of writing (a letter) requires a proactive role in managing the reader’s reactions. In what at first sight may look like a simple, insignificant and most of all polite letter, it is argued that, from the viewpoint of argumentation theory, negotiation and bargaining tactics, this politeness may be considered as a carefully devised and potentially effective strategy, contributing to keep Badens to a promise already made, and to remove any possible objections from the latter in fulfilling his promise. Whilst starting the letter from the relatively powerless situation of a pupil asking his master to act, by showing a mutual interest and by applying anticipated argumentation and negotiation, Bredero seeks a reasonable balance which he simultaneously turns to his own advantage.

Creating disagreement by self-abasement

Creating disagreement by self-abasement. Apologizing as a means of confrontational strategic maneuvering, in: B.J. Garssen e.a. (eds.), Proceedings of the 8 th International Conference of the International Society for the Study of Argumentation. Amsterdam: Sic Sat, 2015, p. 639-647

ABSTRACT: The analysis of the different stages in a preface to a stage play (1617) by Gerbrand Bredero makes clear that antitheses, exaggerated modesty and self-humiliation may be used as strategic tools in the confrontation stage. The disagreement between protagonist and the primary audience has been created in the confrontation stage by polarizing the parties' attitude towards each other.

English translation of Bredero's preface included.

G.A. Bredero, `Preface' (December 1616) to: G.A. Bredero, Moortje, Waar in hy Terentii Eunuchum heeft Nae-ghevolght. Amsterdam: Paulus van Ravesteyn, 1617



  • Jansen, J. (2014). Creating disagreement by self-abasement: Apologizing as a means of confrontational strategic maneuvering. In B. J. Garssen, D. Godden, G. Mitchell, & F. Snoeck Henkemans (Eds.), International Society for the Study of Argumentation: 8th International Conference on Argumentation: July 1-July 4, 2014, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands (pp. 639-647). Amsterdam: Sic Sat. [details] 
  • Jansen, J. (2014). Gerbrand Bredero's handling of Antiquity: transfer of classical knowledge into seventeenth century vernacular culture. In B. Noak (Ed.), Wissenstransfer und Auctoritas in der frühneuzeitlichen niederländischsprachigen Literatur (pp. 211-226). (Berliner Mittelalter- und Frühneuzeitforschung; No. 19). Göttingen: V&R unipress. [details] 
  • Jansen, J. (2014). Heldendom in herinnering: mythologie en geschiedenis in Jacob Duyms Nassausche Perseus. Spiegel der Letteren, 56(2), 155-181. [details] 
  • Jansen, J. (2014). That is where God comes in: Jacob Duym's Ghedenck-boeck (1606) as argumentative discourse. Arte Nuevo, 1, 40-63. [details] 




  • Jansen, J. (2010). Bredero onder de wijzen: geleende geleerdheid in de brief (1611) aan Carel Quina. Tijdschrift voor Nederlandse Taal- en Letterkunde, 126(4), 347-372. [details] 


  • Jansen, J. (Author). (2016). Gerbrand Adriaenszoon Bredero: Amsterdammer. Het schrijverskabinet: het Panpoëticon Batavûm digitaal: . [details] 
  • Jansen, J. (Author). (2016). Ludolph Smids: vlijtig verzamelaar. Het schrijverskabinet: het Panpoëticon Batavûm digitaal: . [details] 
  • Jansen, J. (Author). (2016). Pieter Corneliszoon Hooft: literaire geschiedschrijver. Het schrijverskabinet: het Panpoëticon Batavûm digitaal: . [details] 


  • Jansen, J. (2015). De Amsterdamse schouwburg (zeventiende eeuw -heden). In J. Jansen, & N. Laan (Eds.), Van hof tot overheid: geschiedenis van literaire instituties in Nederland en Vlaanderen (pp. 115-140). Hilversum: Verloren. [details] 
  • Jansen, J., & Laan, N. (2015). Inleiding. In J. Jansen, & N. Laan (Eds.), Van hof tot overheid: geschiedenis van literaire instituties in Nederland en Vlaanderen. (pp. 7-20). Hilversum: Verloren. [details] 


  • Jansen, J. (2012). G.J. Vossius on imitation: reading the new edition of Vossius's Poetics [Review of: J. Bloemendal, E. Rabbie (2010) Gerardus Joannes Vossius. Poeticarum institutionum libri tres = Institutes of poetics in three books]. Nieuwsbrief Neolatinistenverband, 25, 21-38. [details] 


  • Jansen, J. (2011). G.A. Bredero. Proza: uitgegeven, vertaald en toegelicht. Hilversum: Verloren. [details] 


  • Jansen, J. (2010). [Bespreking van: C. Meier, et al. (2008) Akteure und Aktionen: Figuren und Handlungstypen im Drama der Frühen Neuzeit]. Zeventiende Eeuw, 26(2), 220-221. [details] 


  • Jansen, J. (2009). Vondels 'Aenleidinge': polyfonie en dialogisme., 09.02. [details] 


  • Brinkman, H., Jansen, J., & Mathijsen, M. (2008). Helden bestaan! In H. Brinkman, J. Jansen, & M. Mathijsen (Eds.), Helden bestaan! Opstellen voor Herman Pleij bij zijn afscheid als hoogleraar Historische Nederlandse Letterkunde aan de Universiteit van Amsterdam (pp. 9-11). Amsterdam: Bert Bakker. [details] 
  • Jansen, J. (2008). Imitatio: literaire navolging (imitatio auctorum) in de Europese letterkunde van de renaissance (1500-1700). Hilversum: Verloren. [details] 
  • Jansen, J. (2008). Consolation. In H. Brinkman, J. Jansen, & M. Mathijsen (Eds.), Helden bestaan! Opstellen voor Herman Pleij bij zijn afscheid als hoogleraar Historische Nederlandse Letterkunde aan de Universiteit van Amsterdam (pp. 300-303). Amsterdam: Bert Bakker. [details] 


  • Jansen, J. (2007). 'Hoe de dichtkunst kan worden geprezen. Een bijdrage van Quintilianus aan Hoofts Reden vande Waerdicheit der Poesie?'. In K. Korevaart, H. Jansen, & J. de Jong (Eds.), Het woud van de retorica. Bundel voor Antoine Braet bij zijn afscheid van de Opleiding Nederlandse taal en cultuur van de Universiteit Leiden. (pp. 101-112). (SNL-reeks; No. 17). Leiden. [details] 
  • Jansen, J. (2007). 'P.C. Hooft, lecteur et imitateur de Montaigne'. In P. J. Smith, & A. E. Enenkel (Eds.), Montaigne and the Low Countries (1580-1700). (pp. 173-185). (Intersections. Yearbook for Early Modern Studies; No. 8). Leiden / Boston: Brill. [details] 


  • Jansen, J. (2006). 'Het genoegen is al het goede. Hoofts visie op genot in de "Reden vande Waerdicheit der Poesie" (ca. 1614): filosofie of rhetorica?'. LIAS. Sources and Documents relating to the Early History of Ideas, 32(2), 222-268. [details] 


  • Jansen, J., & Postma, S. (2017). G.A. Bredero, Spaanse Brabander: Immigratie, armoede en bedrog in de Gouden Eeuw: Docentenhandleiding : uitwerking van de opdrachen, opdrachen zonder antwoorden. (Tekst in context; Vol. 13). Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. [details] 
  • Jansen, J., Postma, S., & de Vos, M. (2017). G.A. Bredero, Spaanse Brabander : immigratie, armoede en bedrog in de Gouden Eeuw: Naar Gerbrand Adriaensz. Bredero, Spaanschen Brabander. (Tekst in context; Vol. 13). Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. [details] 


  • Jansen, J. (2010). [Bespreking van: G.G. Hellinga (2006) Zeehelden uit de Gouden Eeuw]. Zeventiende Eeuw, 26/1, 118. [details] 
  • Jansen, J. (2010). [Bespreking van: L. Koelmans (2007) Michiel de Ruyter in eigen woorden]. Zeventiende Eeuw, 26(1), 123. [details] 


  • Jansen, J. (2009). [Review of: J.H.W. Wagemans (2009) Redelijkheid en overredingskracht van argumentatie: een historisch-filosofische studie over de combinatie van het dialectische en het retorische perspectief op argumentatie]. Nieuwsbrief ISHR-BENELUX, 2009/2, 10. [details] 


  • Jansen, J. (2008). Gesprekscultuur in praatjespamfletten [Review of: C. Dingemanse (2008) Rap van tong, scherp van pen : literaire discussiecultuur in Nederlandse praatjespamfletten (circa 1600-1750)]. Nieuwsbrief ISHR-BENELUX, 2008(2). [details] 
  • Jansen, J. (2008). In margine: overvloed en onbehagen [Review of: K. Porteman, M.B. Smits-Veldt (2008) Een nieuw vaderland voor de muzen: geschiedenis van de Nederlandse literatuur 1560-1700]. Spiegel der Letteren, 50(3), 349-358. DOI: 10.2143/SDL.50.3.2033478  [details] 
  • Jansen, J. (2008). Praatjes in de zeventiende eeuw [Review of: C. Dingemanse (2008) Rap van tong, scherp van pen: literaire discussiecultuur in Nederlandse praatjespamfletten (circa 1600-1750)]. Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis, 121(4), 483-484. [details] 
  • Jansen, J. (2008). [Review of: A. Frank-van Westrienen (2007) Het schoolschrift van Pieter Teding van Berkhout: vergezicht op gymnasiaal onderwijs in de zeventiende-eeuwse Nederlanden]. Neder-L: elektronisch tijdschrift voor de neerlandistiek, 0806.36. [details] 
  • Jansen, J. (2008). [Review of: A. Frank-van Westrienen (2007) Het schoolschrift van Pieter Teding van Berkhout: vergezicht op gymnasiaal onderwijs in de zeventiende-eeuwse Nederlanden]. Nieuwsbrief ISHR-BENELUX, 2008(2). [details] 


  • Jansen, J. (2007). [Review of: E. Chayes. L'éloquence des pierres précieuses. Lapidaires du XVIe siècle. De Marbode de Rennes à Alard d'Amsterdam et Remy Belleau]. Nieuwsbrief ISHR-BENELUX, 2007(1). [details] 


  • Jansen, J., & van Gemert, E. M. P. (2016). Het werkveld tussen academische lesstof en populariserend product: Cursus: `Historische letterkunde vandaag' .

Talk / presentation

  • Jansen, Jeroen (speaker) (29-11-2016): Het werkveld centraal, Eerste onderwijsconferentie, Amsterdam.


  • Jansen, Jeroen (participant) (29-11-2016): Eerste onderwijsconferentie (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
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