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Cultural Memory, Rhetoric, and Literary Discourse

Cultural Memory, Rhetoric, and Literary Discourse


Dr. Jeroen Jansen and Dr. Kristine Johanson

Associated members of the research group

dr. P.A.L. Bijl
dr. M. Hogenbirk
prof. dr. J.T. Leerssen
dr. Y. Rodríguez Pérez

Description of the research programme of the research group

“Cultural Memory, Rhetoric, and Literary Discourse” is interested in and explores the intersections of these subjects in and beyond the early modern period and the Dutch Golden Age particularly. Recognizing the growing discipline of Memory Studies and recent theoretical approaches to memory, this group pursues, and is grounded in, a literary-historical approach to cultural memory studies. As such, one interest of the group is how this particular approach can inform or enlighten our investigations.
The research questions raised by the group’s investigations into the relationship between cultural memory, rhetoric, and literary discourse include:

  • How is cultural memory shaped by literary discourse?
  • How can, and how does, rhetorical analysis inform our understanding of the construction of cultural memory?
  • In what way can assumed author’s strategies (argumentation, framing) within cultural memory be analyzed and mapped?
  • What is the relationship between constructions (literary, rhetorical) of time and cultural memory?
  • How does nostalgia inform cultural memory, and how reliant are rhetoric and literary discourse on nostalgia to craft cultural memory?

By asking these questions, we hope to attend further to how byproducts of cultural memory—historiography, nation-building, political discourses—are interconnected with language and literature.

Recent results

Kristine Johanson


  • Editor, “Approaches to Early Modern Nostalgia” special issue, Parergon, 33:2. 
  • “On the Possibility of Early Modern Nostalgias”, in “Approaches to Early Modern Nostalgia”, pp. 1­-15. 
  • “In the Mean Season: Richard IIand the Nostalgic Politics of Hospitality”, in “Approaches to Early Modern Nostalgia”, pp. 57-78.  

In progress: 

  • Golden Ages: Shakespeare and the Idea of Nostalgia in Early Modern England(monograph). Cambridge University Press accepted the book proposal for this monograph, and I will submit the draft to them in December 2017 for review.


  • $5000 Cutting Edge Research Award for the Kairos Network workshop
  • $200 to enable attendance at the selective Faculty-Weekend Seminar, ‘The Pasts of Early Modern Britain’, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC, 9-11 February.  


Jeroen Jansen

Publications - 2016

  • ‘Sincere Simplicity’: Gerbrand Bredero’s Apprenticeship with Coornhert and Spiegel, Dutch Crossing, 41:1, p. 4-20
  • `Gerbrand Adriaenszoon Bredero (1585-1618). Amsterdammer’, in: Het schrijverskabinet: het Panpoëticon Batavûm digitaal’. Website. 
  • Ludolph Smids (1649-1720). Vlijtig verzamelaarin: Het schrijverskabinet: het Panpoëticon Batavûm digitaal’. Website. 
  • Pieter Corneliszoon Hooft (1581-1647). Literair geschiedschrijver in: Het schrijverskabinet: het Panpoëticon Batavûm digitaal’. Website. 
  • G.A. Bredero. Spaanse Brabander. Immigratie, armoede en bedrog in de Gouden Eeuw: Naar Gerbrand Adriaensz. Bredero, Spaanschen Brabander. M.m.v. M. de Vos en S. Postma. AUP, 112 p. (Tekst in context; vol. 13)
  • Docentenhandleiding G.A. Bredero, Spaanse Brabander. Immigratie, armoede en bedrog in de Gouden Eeuw.Tekst in context. M.m.v. S. Postma.AUP, 56 p. (Tekst in context; vol. 13)


  •    Authorship and celebrity in the seventeenth-century Netherlands (Bredero). 3rd Celebrity Studies Journal conference. Amsterdam.29 juni 2016

In progress:

  • ‘Innocence framed. Classical myth as a strategic tool in Jacob Duym's Nassausche Perseus(1606)’, in:  Framing Classical Reception Studies. Eds. M. De Pourcq, N. de Haan and D. Rijser. Leiden, Brill, 2017  [in press; fall 2017]
  • `Staging Dutch history. Linking past, present and future’[submitted to: Journal of Dutch Literature]
  • Reaching out to the common man. Bredero’s view on purification, enrichment and embellishment of the vernacular. In: G.J. Rutten, P. Swiggers (eds.), The Dutch Language, 1500-1800: historical setting, descriptive approaches, teaching practices. Leuven, Peeters, 2018 

Societal relevance

Investigating how cultural memory is constructed is an investigation into how cultures understand and identify themselves, and for that reason is this project socially relevant. Its research outcomes will contribute to the ongoing conversations happening around, and about, the nature of cultural identity and the role of cultural memory in shaping that identity. These outcomes will be available in Dutch and English and made further accessible by the organization of public lectures or possible events coordinated with cultural institutions in Amsterdam.