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Cultural Memory, Rhetoric, and Literary Discourse


Dr. J. (Jeroen) Jansen

Faculty of Humanities

Capaciteitsgroep Nederlandse Letterkunde

Description of the research group programme

“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

Publications (2019-2020)

  • Review: Harriet Phillips. Nostalgia in Print and Performance, 1510-1613: Merry Worlds. Modern Philology (forthcoming)

In progress:

  • Shakespeare’s Golden Ages: Resisting Nostalgia in Elizabethan Drama. This 90,000-word monograph is complete, and the book proposal has been approved by the editorial board of Edinburgh Critical Studies in Renaissance Culture (published by Edinburgh UP) to be included in that series. The board consists of Lorna Hutson, Katherine Ibbett, Joe Moshenska, and Kathryn Murphy (all at Oxford).

Relevant conference papers & speaking engagements

  • Invited speaker for Nostalgia and the Early Modern World Workshop, Cambridge University, 11-12 January, 2020.
  • (Invited) ‘The Lessons of Nostalgia in Julius Caesar and Sejanus’, Shakespeare’s Rome International Summer School, Roma Tre University, Rome, 12 September, 2019.

Jeroen Jansen

Publications – 2019

  • Some articles about Gerbrand Bredero’s life and work, including publishing strategies, about P.C. Hooft regarding causal patterns, and about Jacob Duym, especially his use of classical myth as a strategic tool.

In progress:

  • Monograph on the intellectual delight of readers of literary texts in the Early Modern period.

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.