Through an analysis of the writings of the Dutch lawyer, poet, translator, and novelist Johan van Heemskerk (1597-1645), the lecture will challenge the traditional nationalistic, monolingual approach to early modern literature that obscures the complex web of relationships between history and literature, the indigenous and the foreign, and the local and the global. The lecture will explore the interplay between romance, history, politics and law in van Heemskerck’s 'Inleydinghe tot het ontwerp van een Batavische Arcadia' (1637), and argue for the need to adopt a transnational approach to the study of literature that dismantles traditional linguistic and disciplinary boundaries and establishes early modern Netherlandic writing within a European framework for cosmopolitan readers of a new global Empire.
James A. Parente, Jr. (Ph.D., Germanic Languages and Literatures, Yale University) is a Professor of German, Scandinavian and Dutch literature at the University of Minnesota and Director of the Minnesota Center for German and European Studies. He is a specialist in early modern (1400-1750) German, Dutch, and Nordic literatures and cultures, and early modern Neo-Latin literature. He is the author of Religious Drama and the Humanist Tradition: Christian Theater in Germany and the Netherlands, 1500-1680, and has edited/ co-edited two anthologies of critical work on the early modern Holy Roman Empire, and another on modern Scandinavian literature. He has published widely on early modern German, Dutch and Neo-Latin literature, especially drama; Renaissance humanism; gender and sexuality in the German Empire; the Dutch Golden Age; early modern Danish literature, and Henrik Ibsen. He is currently working on translational literary relations between the German Empire, the Netherlands, and Nordic Europe, and on the historiography of Europe in the early modern period.