Eveline Koolhaas-Grosfeld, Verklaring der plaat
Guiseppe Ceracchi, Joan Derk van der Capellen. Marmeren standbeeld voor het geplande grafmonument, ca. 1789. Rome, tuinen van de Villa Borghese.
‘Daarom juist is het twijfelachtig, of standbeelden wel te huis behooren in eenen wereld, die zich toch de Christelijke noemt. Het Christendom kent eene andere en betere onsterfelijkheid dan die aardsche quasi-onsterfelijkheid.’
Deze opmerking dateert van 1841, en de aanleiding was een poging tot fondswerving voor een standbeeld van Rembrandt, maar het argument zou ook in het algemeen kunnen gelden – Nederlanders hebben altijd moeite gehad met heldenverering. Was het niet het geloof, of het geld, dan waren het wel de politieke tegenstellingen die krakeel veroorzaakten, zoals bij het in 1772 opgerichte monumentje voor Vondel.
Het was dan ook een overmoedig plan van de provincie Overijssel om, samen met een Amsterdams Comité van vooraanstaande Patriotten, een nationaal fonds te stichten voor een nationaal monument ter ere van hun in 1784 overleden held Joan Derk van der Capellen, en daarvoor een contract te sluiten met de destijds beroemde Romeinse beeldhouwer Giuseppe Ceracchi. En dat wisten zij ook. Want behalve dat Ceracchi de opdracht kreeg om drie ontwerpen van verschillende prijsklassen te maken, 30.000, 45.000 en 90.000 gulden, voorzag het contract ook in de mogelijkheid dat het monument ergens anders dan in Nederland een plaats zou vinden.
Als alles volgens plan zou zijn verlopen, en het duurste ontwerp was uitgevoerd, zou er in de Grote Kerk in Zwolle een mooi voorbeeld van vroeg-neoclassicistische grafsculptuur te zien zijn geweest: betrekkelijk eenvoudig qua ornamentiek en geheel gespeend van christelijke motieven. Want de revolutionairen geloofden juist in een aardse onsterfelijkheid, een voortleven in de herinnering van de mensen.
Het heeft niet zo mogen zijn. Het ontwerp van 45.000 gulden werd in 1789 voltooid, maar toen kon dit patriotse monument niet meer naar Nederland. Het is nu in losse onderdelen te bezichtigen in de tuin van de Villa Borghese: hier een Nederlandse Leeuw, daar een Minerva als Vrijheid, verderop een personificatie van Overijssel, en weer ergens anders het beeld van Van der Capellen, gekleed in Romeinse toga en met een uitgestrekte rechterarm en -hand, het gebaar dat autoriteit suggereert.
- A. H. Wertheim-Gijse Weenink en W. F. Wertheim, ‘Joan Derk als Nederlandse volkstribuun in Rome’, in E. A. van Dijk e.a. (red.), De wekker van de Nederlandse natie Joan Derk van der Capellen 1741-1784 (Zwolle ) 53-58.
- U. Desportes, ‘Ceracchi’s design for a monument’, The Art Quarterly 27 (1964) 475-489.
Isabella van Elferen, ‘Thou shalt weep on my tomb…’ Sentimental, metaphysical and performative tears in Elisabeth Maria Post’s Het Land
The eighteenth century has been referred to as ‘the weeping century’, as no other period in cultural history contains so many literary, musical and artistic accounts of tears and crying. Theorists of sentimentality attributed special meanings to weeping. Tears were considered a proof of virtue and of spiritual nobility. Sentimental tears, moreover, gained meaning when shed publicly, so that the world could see and value the weeper’s virtue. In mid-eighteenth century Dutch literature, sentimental tears also had an explicit religious function. Crying had been an important aspect of devotional life since the Reformation, culminating in the religious sentimentality of pietism. The devotional literature of Dutchbevindelijkheid shows many examples of such tears demonstrating virtuous sensitivity.
In this article I propose a re-evaluation of sentimental and pietist tears from a performance-theoretical perspective, and investigate the role of tears as a cultural performance. Whereas sensitivity and repentance were described as private emotions, their tearful expression took place in the new public sphere of the bourgeois that Jürgen Habermas has described. In its functionality as a public arena for collective sentimentality, the mid-eighteenth-century epistolary novel can be interpreted as the stage on which crying – as a cultural performance – evoked the crossing of borders between both secular and religious sensitivity, private and public emotions, and worldly sorrows and eschatological redemption. A critical rereading of Elisabeth Maria Post’s novel Het land from this theoretical background will serve to evaluate the variegated meanings and functions of sentimental tears in this phase of Dutch literary history.
Thema ‘Idolen in de achttiende eeuw’:
Lia van Gemert, Real heroes are rare. Idols in Dutch epic tales
This paper studies four heroic leaders in Dutch early modern epic poems: John the Baptist in Vondel’s Joannes de boetgezant (1662) vs. the biblical David in Van Merken’s David (1767) and Stadholder Prince Maurits in Van Bos’s Mauritias (1646) vs. Hugo de Groot, Pensionary of Rotterdam, in Moens’s Hugo de Groot (1790).
The four want to be traditional heroes, aspiring to purify their society. Joannes and De Groot even become similar to Christ in performing this task. But only two of them succeed: Maurits and David. Joannes and De Groot are isolated men: Joannes dies (Christ will fulfil his mission); De Groot fails totally because he puts his personal interest first.
All four epics show the traditional pattern of virtues and vices: courage, moral integrity and (in various degrees) devotion to God, in opposition to cowardice, unreliability and self-conceit. The differences between the 17th- and 18th-century societies are strikingly clear: the 17th-century poems focus on the governing elite, while in the 18th century the ideal of a shared community is being put forward. In terms of gender, the difference is also obvious. Vondel and Van Bos hardly portray any women, and when they do the women show their traditional reprehensible qualities; Van Merken and Moens pay equal attention to men and women, without distributing qualities among the sexes but stating that they are together responsible for public and private life.
The poetic conventions in these poems also mark the differences between 17th- and 18th-century writing. Vondel and Van Bos concentrate on rhetorical arguments with static scenes and characters. Van Merken and Moens operate in a more narrative way, following strategies derived from the novel and presenting socially sensible characters. Their reason for not choosing the novel may have been the status of the epic poem. David and De Groot are perfect citizens but at the same time could not have been portrayed in a novel without harming their status of heroic leader.
W.R.D. van Oostrum, Convicted to serve as an example? Female idols in the eighteenth-century literary circuit
In the eighteenth century the world of public writing and publishing was mostly a male territory. So, on the one hand, for women to praise a woman writer as an inspiring predecessor was risky. Her destiny was to be a caring spouse, housewife and mother, and her female nature didn’t permit her writing for her own sake. However, of course there were women writers. They had to fight their way into a man’s world and to be successful they had to conform to the existing male standards.
On the other hand the mere act of praising women’s writing didn’t necessarily imply a serious attempt to assess its literary worth, nor did recognition by the critical (male) establishment mean inclusion in the literary canon. To become famous, a female writer had to be the best of her sex and better than most male writers. If a woman surpassed male colleagues, she became unique and an exception, the recipient of paradoxical praise: she wrote ‘like a man’.
The official literary canon of the eighteenth century contains only a few women writers. Accordingly, only a few women (and men) idolize female laureates. Praising a female writer was always a bit ambivalent: men admire her work and esteem her femininity; women look up to her literary achievement. As the number of women writers increases, the adage is: ‘new balls’. New forms of literary criticism develop, literary criteria change (circa 1760 & 1790).
A different status and a warm reception produce literary characters, such as the English Pamela andClarissa, the French Julie, the Dutch Julia (& Eduard), Koosje, Chrisje (&Willem) (from Willem Leevend). They are ‘compatible’ with our twenty-first-century icons.
André Hanou, Wanted: heroes (M/F)
When asked to write about heroes of the Enlightenment, one’s first difficulty is to get a clear focus on this problem. Is there a definition for a Hero, Heroine? Does one wish to write about people who have had a real existence, or does one write about characters in fiction? Should there be a difference between hero-worship in the past, and acknowledgement of past heroes nowadays?
The present author has more or less withdrawn from this methodological battlefield. He has decided to use different frameworks and points of view. Therefore he discusses:
1. Fictional heroes (who are famous mostly because of their origins in fiction, or literature). The focus is here on their archetypical value, and usability in the mind of modern man. It would seem that the Enlightenment has produced more types (like Robinson, Casanova) than Antiquity, the Bible and so on; at least when one considers those who are still well-known today.
2. Thematic heroes: characters who in fiction, essays and other sources were popular during the Enlightenment period because they fulfilled contemporary needs and desires. Examples: the adventurer, the distressed young woman who is put to the test, the gentleman-rogue, the citizen, the innocent. Of course in this field there are counter-heroes, like the dandy, the pharisean religionist, the conspirator.
3. Real heroes, from a dozen dimensions of life. A very debatable selection. Is it, for instance, really verifiable if, in the Netherlands, in the field of philosophy, the most known or adored thinkers have been, in succession: Rousseau, Martinet, Kant, Spinoza and Swedenborg? – This part of the article might mean the end of friendships, or become a cause of quarrels among the learned.
Luc Duerloo, Cassant and Cassandra. Idolizing the Habsburgs
The recently reconstructed memoirs of Jean Philippe Eugène de Merode, marquess of Westerlo, offer a frank and revealing insight into how a high ranking nobleman of the early eighteenth century understood his allegiance to his Habsburg sovereigns King Charles II of Spain and Emperor Charles VI. Critical if not vitriolic of almost everyone who crossed his path, Merode considers the two monarchs absolutely beyond reproach. Heavenly signs mark out their distinct nature. Their virtues are innate; their propensity to rule indisputable. Even the lack of a proper education in the case of Charles II cannot compromise this. When erroneous policies are pursued, these are wholly the responsibility of evil counsellors that surround and maliciously manipulate the sovereign. The stereotype of the good prince and the bad counsellor is a very old one, dating from at least the Late Middle Ages. Yet at the same time Merode’s adoration of his sovereigns also contains a much more modern aspect, for his memoirs devote considerable attention to their private lives, in particular to their sexuality. The lurid details he provides are very much like those that were to compromise the French monarchy later in the eighteenth century. In very much the same vein, his interests prefigure those of the royalty press of the twenty-first century.
Cecil P. Courtney, Isabelle de Charrière and Voltaire. Trois femmes and Candide
Isabelle de Charrière’s ‘Kantian’ novel, Trois femmes (1795), is an example of the use of prose fiction to test philosophical theories. Just as Voltaire, in Candide (1759), tests the optimistic rationalism of Leibniz against what happens in the real world, so Charrière tests Kant’s theory of moral obligation against the experiences of her three women. The present article examines not only the affinities between Candide and Trois femmes, but also the differences, including differences of tone and style. One important difference is that, whereas at the end of Candide we are left with the exhortation ‘il faut cultiver notre jardin’, without any precise explanation of its meaning, Charrière makes a point of illustrating, incident by incident, what exactly such a practical philosophy might involve and shows how, in making moral decisions in response to difficult situations, the three women are guided, not by any abstract theory, but by what, in their judgement, is the most useful course of action for the happiness of those concerned. Another important difference is that, in the second part of the novel, we move beyond the pragmatic morality of the first part to a recognition of the need for a certain ideal of moral perfection, at least as an aspiration, which adds dignity and meaning to life. Strong reservations are now expressed about the philosophy of utility of part I, but this development is not entirely surprising when we remember that Voltaire, likewise, to judge from his later works, became dissatisfied with the empiricism of Candide and finally returned to metaphysical considerations and a search for higher ideals. However, whereas Voltaire conducts his enquiry in terms of a search for cosmic order, Charrière, who in this respect remains very much a novelist and shows close affinities with Rousseau, conducts it in terms of psychology and the individual conscience.
Stand van zaken:
Rienk Vermij, What was Enlightenment?
This article, which joins a discussion on the meaning of ‘Enligtenment’ started earlier in this journal, questions whether the idea of Enlightenment makes sense as a historical concept. The idea was introduced in nineteenth-century history of philosophy to denote a set of philosophical ideas. Only much later was it adopted by cultural historians as well, but Enlightenment should still be regarded as a philosophical, not as a historical concept. The problems this causes are twofold. In the first place, the idea of Enlightenment is closely linked to nineteenth-century positivist ideas about social progress, which by now have become obsolete. Secondly, as a philosophical concept Enlightenment presupposes an idealistic view of history. Such presupposions will unwittingly enter the narrative of a historian using the term. In principle, it would be possible to define ‘Enlightenment’ in a more strict and neutral way. However, the philosophical content has always been the raison d’être of the idea of Enlightenment and it seems improbable that historians would reach agreement on a completely new definition.
Frans Grijzenhout, Verklaring der plaat
Hubert-François Bourguignon, genaamd Gravelot (1699-1773), Titelgravure voor een Nederlandse editie van Jean-François Marmontel, Belisarius (Amsterdam 17693), Universiteitsbibliotheek, Amsterdam.
Een oude man, voorovergebogen, leunend op een stok met zijn ene hand, op de schouder van een jongeman met de andere. Schuifelend door een mediterraan landschap, waarvan hij niets kan zien: als blinde is hij volledig afhankelijk van de hulp van anderen. Evenmin kan hij het aan hem gewijde gedenkteken opmerken dat hij zojuist passeert, een afgeknotte zuil, nog gesierd met laurierkransen, als symbool voor de kracht en de roem die eens kunnen vergaan. De slangen die zich om de zuil krullen, symboliseren hier niet de eeuwigheid: zij dreigen de jonge leidsman elk moment te kunnen bijten.
Het opschrift op het voetstuk van het monument helpt ons de man te identificeren: Belisarius is hij, gewezen generaal in het leger van keizer Justinianus. Groot was Belisarius’ roem toen hij belangrijke gedeelten van het Italische schiereiland herveroverde op de Gothen. Diep zijn val toen hij beschuldigd werd van verraad aan de keizer, gevangen gezet, beroofd van zijn functies en eretekenen, blind gemaakt en verbannen. Zijn bewezen onschuld en het daarop volgend eerherstel konden de latere legendevorming rond zijn persoon niet verhinderen: als blinde bedelaar zou de oude generaal in de straten van Constantinopel zijn kostje bij elkaar hebben moeten schooien, totdat hij herkend werd door een soldaat die onder hem gediend had en die de aandacht vestigde op zijn vroegere meester: ‘date obolum Belisario’: ‘geeft toch een obool aan Belisarius!’ Die scène komt in de beeldende kunst van de zeventiende en achttiende eeuw regelmatig voor, als historie met een krachtige morele les van vaderlandsliefde en de vergankelijkheid van de roem. Het schilderij van Jacques-Louis David uit 1781 is het bekendste voorbeeld.
De geschiedenis van Belisarius krijgt in de achttiende een onverwachte impuls met de verschijning van Marmontels roman Bélisaire in 1767. Bij Marmontel is Belisarius een balling geworden die op zijn filosofische wandeling tal van vragen betreffende religie en moraal aansnijdt. Vooral het vijftiende hoofdstuk over de tolerantie en de in het boek opgeworpen vraag of ook deugdzame heidenen in de hemel kunnen komen, leidt tot verwoede debatten (de ‘Socratische oorlog’) tussen vertegenwoordigers van de orthodoxe kerk en verlichte of gematigde filosofen. Belisarius wordt een cultfiguur, een achttiende-eeuws icoon van verdraagzaamheid en verlichting. Zo kon hij ook het symbool worden van de verlichte balling.
- E.G.E. van der Wall, Socrates in de hemel? Een achttiende-eeuwse polemiek over deugd, verdraagzaamheid en de vaderlandse kerk (Hilversum 2000).
Joris van Eijnatten, Inleiding. Ballingschap, verbanning en de ban
Sjoerd Faber and René Lombarts, A legal-historical contribution on the banishment of Willem Bilderdijk in 1795
This contribution deals with two reactions to crime that as such do not exist anymore in today’s western world: banishment and transportation. The latter, meaning deportation to far away overseas possessions, reached its zenith in England (and Australia) at the end of the eighteenth and in the first decades of the nineteenth centuries. A Dutch ‘Botany bay’, however, did not come into existence. Banishment, on the contrary, was put into practice very frequently in the Netherlands before 1811, although at the end of the eighteenth century it was seen as a way of evading the real problems. The Napoleonic Code Pénal, which came into force in the Netherlands in 1811, when the Netherlands became part of the French empire, knew transportation and banishment as punishments, the latter only for political crimes. After the revival of the Netherlands (1813), the Code Pénal was maintained with some modifications. Consequently, banishment and transportation fell into disuse.
Some other distinctions have to be made. Reacting to crimes, in the first place, is not always to be seen as punishment. In some cases we should speak of precaution, taking measures in order to prevent damage that someone could do to others, to the public order or to themselves. Secondly, both punishments and measures can be imposed by judges, but also by other officials such as public prosecutors and other public servants.
These notions and distinctions we applied to the exile Bilderdijk: in 1795 he was banished from The Hague. This measure was taken by a public prosecutor, in name and by order of the fresh representatives of the Batavian people of Holland.
Gert-Jan Johannes, ‘Did you, my fatherland, ever fulfil your duties towards me?’ Bilderdijk, exile for life
The Dutch lawyer, poet and philosopher Willem Bilderdijk (1756-1831), who in his lifetime was regarded as Holland’s poet par excellence, became famous for his eccentric worldview and his ultra-orthodox Calvinism. In this article, excerpts from his poems are used to demonstrate that his experiences during the period of his exile (1795-1806) were instrumental in the development of his presumed eccentricity.
In 1795, Bilderdijk, as a supporter of the House of Orange, was banished from Holland for refusing to undersign the obligatory declaration of loyalty to the new ‘Patriot’ regime. Bilderdijk left Holland for Germany and later England, roaming around for more than ten years in rather precarious circumstances. The experience of banishment and alienation from his home country led Bilderdijk to the insight that the fatherland is not always right, and that the exile does not need to be a traitor or a deserter by definition; a morally justified or honourable exile is indeed possible. His fatherland, Bilderdijk now feels, has not fulfilled its obligations towards him. What is more, in retrospective he now interprets his whole life – and man’s life in general – as a kind of exile. The true Christian is never at home in a world where Man does not obey the will of God as much as he should. With this outlook on life, Bilderdijk, on his return to Holland, became the ‘eternal outsider’ in Dutch bourgeois society.
Seen in a wider European perspective, Bilderdijk’s worldview does not seem so strange at all. As Peter Fritzsche has argued in his study Stranded in the present, all over Europe people of Bilderdijk’s generation lived through comparable experiences of banishment, exile and alienation from one’s fatherland and from one’s own history. The ensuing sense of profound loss and a fundamental rupture with the past, the ‘melancholy of history’, which Fritzsche found in the work of, e.g., Chateaubriand, is perfectly echoed in the work of Bilderdijk.
Frans Grijzenhout, The image of exile, or: Belisarius in Holland
The iconography of ‘exile’ in the visual arts goes back to Cesare Ripa’s invention of ‘esilio’ (Iconologia, Dutch edition 1644), in which secular (banishment, limitation to freedom) and religious aspects (pilgrimage) of exile come together. This article focuses on the representation of exile in the period of the French and Dutch Revolutions at the end of the eighteenth century. In French art of the 1790s the theme of exile is embedded in anti-revolutionary portraiture, such as Danloux’ Portrait of De la Marche, and in representations of the misery of the émigrés (Danloux, ‘La pitié’. Scène de la misère, 1802), inspired by Delille’s La pitié. In the French ‘art de l’émigration’ the figure of Belisarius takes pride of place. Gravelot’s title-engraving to Marmontel’s famous Bélisaire (1767) inspired Gérard’s audaciously new representation (1795) of the theme.
Although political exile was a wide-spread phenomenon in the Dutch Republic after the failed patriot revolution of 1786-1787, it does not seem to have left many traces in art. Nicolaas Muys produced a mysterious painting in 1790, on the iconography of which this article concentrates. It may well reflect the merits of an unknown (Rotterdam?) patriot exile and his devoted wife (as Artemisia) and the miseries of exile.
Myriam Everard, Two ‘dames hollandoises’ in Trévoux. The political exile of Elisabeth Wolff and Agatha Deken, 1788-1797
This article challenges Joost Rosendaal’s recent claim that women Patriot-refugees in France, among them well-known writers Elisabeth Wolff and Agatha Deken, did not have a political motive for fleeing the Dutch Republic. They would have been little more than hangers-on of the real refugees (men). Closer examination of the political antecedents of a random sample of women-exiles already shows this to be a questionable claim, but the case of Wolff and Deken definitely proves it erroneous. Wolff and Deken turn out to have been part of a far-flung political network, both before and after their exile. They were evidently well-connected to French revolutionaries during their stay in France. Their publications from this period testify to a continued Patriot partisanship. In fact, the ongoing radicalization of their political views during the exile-period can explain why, after their return to the Batavian Republic, Wolff and Deken set out to publish a purely political weekly.
Peter Altena, ‘ô Ungrateful fatherland’. Gerrit Paape and the ‘reforming’ exile’
In the early days of the French Revolution, the prolific Dutch writer and patriot Gerrit Paape (1752-1803) considered the revolutionary banishment of the French clergymen and prostitutes as a ‘bettering exile’. At that time Paape was in French exile, being banned by the Dutch authorities after the Prussian intervention of 1787. In this paper the question is posed whether Paape looked at his own exile as a bettering one.
Already in his youth, Paape was obsessed by martyrologies and martyrdom. After 1787 he fled to Dunkirk and in his autobiography Mijne vrolijke wijsgeerte in mijne ballingschap (1792) he portrayed himself as a merry philosopher in exile. Nobody had to feel pity for him. But when he came back to the Netherlands along with the French and the reception lacked the warmth and the compensation he had expected, he lost his temper. His public appearances – in politics and in literature – were dominated by the demand for compensation. As compensation for the victims was postponed and punishing of those responsible for the repression was thought to be in conflict with the necessary fraternization, former exiles as Paape turned more radical. In his novels a lot of forgotten and poverty-stricken heroes in exile are depicted. When in 1798 Paape was ‘rewarded’ and got a job at the department of education, he looked back on his exile again. More than ten years after his banishment started, he began to think of the banishment of the patriots as a possible blessing in disguise. By making their way in pre-revolutionary France they had visited the University of Patriotism and Revolution. Also in a more moral sense Paape, who had used to see the use of bad luck, considered the years of exile a school: misery and misfortune made him a better man.
Ed Arnold, The heart at the right but wrong place and time. Isolation and exile of Jacob Hendrik Onderdewijngaart Canzius (1771-1838)
Social and political life and times in the Netherlands around 1800 were complicated, particularly for advocates of the ancien regime. As an outspoken Orangist, Jacob Hendrik Onderdewijngaart Canzius from the city of Delft did not go along with mainstream thinking and politics of the Patriotic, Batavian and French periods. He therefore got himself isolated from a full grown political career that normally was bound to be his. After pursuing, not too successfully, different second-chance careers as a captain of industry and as a lay minister in religious sociability in the Godsdienstig Genootschap Christo Sacrum, Canzius felt himself obliged to go abroad, into exile. The new sovereign of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, King Willem I, showed his loyal subject in 1826 long awaited substantial gratitude, by appointing Canzius director of the National Museum for Industry at Brussels, but ‘all’s well that ends well’ was not even then appropriate. In the Belgian Rising of 1830 Canzius again clearly missed good political feeling and eventually found himself in HM’s disgrace.
Ellen Krol, ‘The ‘voluntary’ exile of Hebelius Potter’
The Frisian vicar and writer of travel stories Hebelius Potter (1769-1824) is said to have been an ardent traveller and wanderer. Aside from his travel madness, however, the immediate cause for his first trip to a congregation in South Africa was that he felt forced to yield to the large numbers of militant Jacobins who controlled the North West of Frisia after 1795.
Being in the position of a vicar of the officially privileged Reformed church wasn’t very favourable in the revolutionary period, but Potter suffered also from an unfortunate location of his vicarage bordering on the most militant area of Frisia, called Barradeel. Nocturnal raids and sessions of revolutionary tribunals made life bitter, so Potter chose voluntary exile.
Bad luck dogged his footsteps: his trip to the Cape ended in naval combats with English and French warships. And as vicar of Hanau from 1809, he was an eyewitness from the tower of his German church of Napoleon’s battle of Hanau on October 30th 1813. Potter overcame his problems and devoted the rest of his years to a mixture of pastoral care and “wandern”. Twelve travel stories made him in his time a famous writer, but he was forgotten in the period of religious revival in the middle of the nineteenth century.