Synchrone en diachrone herinnering - Michiel de Ruyter in twee vaderlands-historische epen van Adriaan Loosjes | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 17, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1384-5829
  • E-ISSN: 2352-118X


This article argues that ‘collective memory’ is a problematic term when referring to the commemoration of one of the greatest Dutch sea heroes, Michiel de Ruyter. Despite the recurrence of certain characteristics, such as patriotism, courage, piety and virtue, the representation of De Ruyter changed dramatically over time due to the shifting political landscape. Furthermore, an author’s personal background could strongly influence the De Ruyter’s literary depiction (the so-called ‘spokesmen dependency’). Consequently, it is necessary to adopt a radical historical and contextual approach when studying heroic images from a synchronic and diachronic perspective. This is illustrated by analysing two national epics written by the Haarlem bookseller Adriaan Loosjes: M.A. de Ruyter (1784) and De laatste zeetogt van admiraal De Ruiter (1812). In the first poem, De Ruyter is portrayed as a brave conqueror who espouses anti- Orangist sentiments, whereas his more conciliatory and domestic character prevails in the latter text. In this way, both external and domestic political conflicts as well as Loosjes’s own political preferences determine these changing representations of the past.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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