Netherlandic Treasures
Netherlandic Treasures
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Early Literary Works

Thesaurus Theutonicae linguae; Schat der Neder-duytscher spraken. Antwerp: C. Plantin, 1573.

A dictionary of Flemish words and expressions, with French and Latin equivalents. The publication of this book indicates the increasing importance of the vernacular in scholarly publishing at the end of the 16th century. The printer Plantin was in a position to know at first hand the inconvenience of non-standardized spelling, which such a dictionary as this could help to remedy.

Christophe Plantin, originally a Frenchman, settled in prosperous Antwerp in the mid-16th century. He founded a commercial printing house which survived the religious wars of the 16th and 17th centuries and remained of importance for the next three centuries.

Purchased in 1928 from bookseller Nijhoff (The Hague).

Jan van der Noot (d. 1590). De Poetische Werken; Les Oeuvres poetiques. Antwerp: D. Vervliet, 1589.

Poetry in both Dutch and French by van der Noot, who called himself the "Patrician of Antwerp." In the section shown here are a series of poems in praise of contemporaries. The motto in the woodcut, "Tempora te tempori" (fit yourself to the times), is that of van der Noot himself.

Purchased in 1925 from bookseller Nijhoff (The Hague).

Hendrik Laurensz. Spiegel (1549-1612). Twe-spraack vande Nederduitsche letter-kunst. Leiden: Christoffel Plantijn, 1584.

A treatise on the spelling and the proper use of the Dutch language. The work was published by the Amsterdam Chamber of Rhetoric called De Eglantier (The Wild Rose) whose device was "In liefde bloeyende" (Flowering in Love). The many Chambers of Rhetoric in the Netherlands active between 1400 and 1700 existed to bring together poets and dramatists to read and perform their works. Spiegel, a humanist writer and one of the first proponents of the Renaissance in the North Netherlands, was a member of De Eglantier.

Some of this work is printed in a "civilité" type font. "Civilité" was designed in 1557 by Robert Granjon, a French punch-cutter, founder, printer, and publisher in Lyon. It is a typographic rendering of cursive handwriting of the 16th century and never achieved wide popularity, becoming, instead, a sort of early display type.

Purchased in 1928 from bookseller Nijhoff (The Hague).

Pieter Corneliszoon Hooft (1581-1647). P.C. Hoofts Werken. Amsterdam: J. Lescailje, 1671.

Historian, poet, and dramatist, Hooft exhibited a pronounced Renaissance spirit in his works: his famous history of the Dutch revolt against Spain in the classical style of Tacitus; his sonnets and other poetry which show the influence of French and Italian Renaissance lyricism; his classical tragedies, pastoral plays, and farces. Like Spiegel he was a member of the Amsterdam Chamber of Rhetoric, De Eglantier.

Hooft's "Emblemata amatoria - Afbeeldinghen van Minne - Emblemes d'Amour" were first published in 1611. Emblem books as a genre flourished particularly in the Netherlands in the 17th century. Each emblem consists of an engraved illustration, an emblematic explanation of the illustration in verse or prose, and a motto. Looking at these three elements together makes the sense of the emblem clear.

Purchased in 1915 from bookseller Erdman.

Roemer Visscher (1547-1620). T'Loff vande mutse, ende van een blaeuwe scheen. Leyden: I. P. Iacobszoon, 1612.

Collection of amusing jests and epigrams in rhyme, partly printed in "civilité" type (see also Spiegel's Twe-spraack vande Nederduitsche letter-kunst). Like Spiegel and Hooft, Visscher was a contributor to the revival of Dutch language and letters at the end of the 16th century. All three were members of the Amsterdam Chamber of Rhetoric, De Eglantier, where most of Visscher's verses were first read aloud.

Visscher is especially remembered in the history of literature because his Amsterdam house was a focal point of a lively cultural traffic, and his two daughters Anna and Maria were among the most celebrated women of this circle.

Gift in 1951 of Marcus M. and Mary Stone Farley Foundation.

Joost van den Vondel (1587-1679). Brieven der heilige maeghden, martelaressen. Amsterdam: D. vander Stichel, voor A. de Wees, 1642. Lucifer; treurspel. Amsterdam: voor A. de Wees, 1654.

Early editions of two titles by Vondel, one of Dutch literature's greatest figures. During the emergence of the Dutch nation in the 17th century, Vondel was the national poet.

Gifts of Lucius L. Hubbard, Regent of the University of Michigan in 1923.

Constantijn Huygens, heer van Zuilichem (1596-1687). Koren-bloemen; Nederlandsche gedichten. Amsterdam: J. van Ravesteyn, 1672.

Second edition of the collected Dutch poems of this diplomat, musician, humanistic scholar, and politician. They were first published thus in 1658. "Oogentroost," shown here, is one of the poet's best known works. It is a consolatory poem to Parthenine (Lucretia van Trello) on becoming blind in one eye.

Purchased on the Director's Fund, date and source unknown.

Hendrik Smeeks (1638/39-1721). Beschryvinge van het magtig koningryk Krinke Kesmes. Amsterdam: Nicolaas ten Hoorn, 1708.

An imaginary voyage describing travel to a fictitious island whose inhabitants have unorthodox philosophical views. Included is a memoir by a Dutchman living on the island who was cast away there as a boy. The account of this shipwrecked mariner begins on page 125, shown here. There are parallels between this section and the story line of Defoe's Robinson Crusoe (1719). This led Lucius L. Hubbard, Regent of the University of Michigan and keen collector of imaginary voyages, to write a pamphlet arguing for the possibility of Smeeks' s work as "a Dutch source for Robinson Crusoe." These theories were generally dismissed by international scholars.

The present volume is one of some 1500 titles making up Regent Hubbard's collection of imaginary voyages, which he presented to the University of Michigan Library in the 1920s.

Daniel Defoe (1661-1731). Het leven en de wonderbare gevallen van Robinson Crusoe. Amsterdam: Jansoons van Waesberge, 1720-1722. 3 volumes.

The immediate success of Defoe's masterpiece upon its first appearance in 1719 led to two sequels: The Farther Adventures (also 1719) and Serious Reflections during the Life and Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, with his Vision of the Angelick World (1720). Success also led to many, many subsequent editions, imitations, and translations. Shown here is the first Dutch translation, which includes part 3, Serious Reflections.

Gift in 1923 of University of Michigan Regent L.L. Hubbard. Some 140 titles in Hubbard's collection of imaginary voyages are Dutch-language editions.