Recently published: EMLC 3 (2019)1.

The latest edition of the open access journal Early Modern Low Countries (EMLC) includes an article by Beatrijs Vanacker and myself on the textual and visual representations of eighteenth-century women translators in the Dutch republic. You can find the article here.

RP-P-1906-1081Portrait of Margaratha Cambon-van Der Werken (1790).


‘It is a pity that not someone like Christina Leonora de Neufville found the time to take on that work’, translator and author Elizabeth Wolff stated when she set eyes on one of the Dutch translations of Voltaire’s Mahomet (1741) in October 1770. Wolff’s comments on these translations provide fascinating insights into some of the underlying dynamics of the eighteenth-century Dutch literary marketplace, where translations made up an important part of the literary production. As recent studies in the field of translation studies have stressed, early modern translations seldom proved to be straightforward renditions of the original but provided eager and upcoming authors to make their claim to literary fame as the translator of more renowned authors. Translating in particular turned out to be a unique opportunity for many early modern European women writers, who often still struggled to establish their names. The case of the Dutch Republic, with its advanced print culture and strongly internationally oriented book market, however, remains hitherto understudied.

This article examines the role translation played in the careers of three Dutch women writers by showing how they used their role as translators to establish and renegotiate their name and (literary) authority, often by interacting directly with the reputation of the translated author. We will use the concept of ‘relational authority’ to address the ways in which Wolff herself, as well as fellow authors Christina Leonora de Neufville and Margaretha Cambon-Van der Werken, used translation as a textual platform to convey their intellectual posture and voice. Our analysis will focus specifically on both the textual and visual dimension of their public image-building by considering how ‘relational’ representations appear in paratexts and portraits respectively.

van Deinsen, L. and Vanacker, B., 2019. Found through Translation: Female Translators and the Construction of ‘Relational Authority’ in the Eighteenth-Century Dutch Republic. Early Modern Low Countries, 3(1), pp.60–80. DOI:


Verschenen: Spiegel der Letteren 2018 3-4

Afb. 2Het jongste nummer van Spiegel der Letteren (2018, 3-4) bevat een bijdrage van mijn hand over de ontstaansgeschiedenis van het monument voor Lucretia Wilhelmina van Merken in de Oude Kerk te Amsterdam: ‘Vrij van faamziekte. Over de oprichting van het gedenkteken voor Lucretia Wilhelmina van Merken (1721-1789) in de Oude Kerk te Amsterdam in 1828’.

The literary fame of Lucretia Wilhelmina van Merken (1721-1789) has been described in terms of rise and fall. In the decades following her death, her reputation rapidly changed from being one of the most popular and well-respected Dutch authors to a somewhat boring representative of the old-fashioned eighteenth-century literature. In 1828, over thirty years later, the Amsterdam Genootschap voor Uiterlijke Welsprekendheid managed, nevertheless, to erect a monument in honour of Van Merken and her husband, Nicolaas van Winter (1718-1795), in the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam. But why? A hitherto unknown manuscript in the collection of the Koninklijk Oudheidkundig Genootschap in the Rijksmuseum sheds new light on the realisation of this project and allows us to place the initiative in the context of the growing desire for public memorials in the early nineteenth century and the still complicated relation between female authorship and celebrity culture.

Zie mijn Academia voor een PDF van de publicatie.

Conference Portraits & Poses – 21 & 22 March KU Leuven

Powerpoint_versieOn March 21 & 22 the annual conference of the Dutch-Belgian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies takes place at the KU Leuven. This year the conference addresses the visual and textual representations of female authority in early modern Europe. How did female intellectuals and professionals construct their public profile in a period when femininity was primarily associated with the private sphere? Which function did portraits and publications had in this process and how was the dynamics between locale and international fame?

Papers will be given in English and French. Keynote speakers include Cordula von Wyhe (York University), Biancamaria Fontana (Université de Lausanne) and Catriona Seth (Oxford University).

You can find the full programme and the abstracts on our conference website.


NWO Rubicon Vlogs

Deze week doe ik via Vlogs verslag van mijn eerste maanden als NWO Rubicon-fellow aan de KU Leuven. Ik bericht over mijn verhuizing, mijn onderzoek en mijn buitenlandervaringen. Benieuwd naar het leven van een Nederlandse cultuur- en literatuurhistoricus bij de zuiderburen?


Vlog 1: De verhuizing

Vlog 2: Het onderzoek

Vlog 3: De ervaringen

Column Maatschappij der Nederlandse Letterkunde & bijdrage Moensiana

De afgelopen maanden verschenen enkele korte bijdragen van mijn hand. Voor de Maatschappij der Nederlandse Letterkunde leverde ik een column over het recent verworven portretje van Constantijn Huygens in het Mauritshuis.

Voor Moensiana, de jaarlijkse uitgave van de Stichting Petronella Moens, leverde ik een bijdrage over de portretten van Moens en andere vrouwen in het Panpoëticon Batavûm. Een overdruk is te vinden op mijn academia-pagina.

Recently published: The Rijksmuseum Bulletin 66 (2018)3

Schermafbeelding 2018-09-22 om 20.58.03.pngThe recently published issue of The Rijksmuseum Bulletin includes an article by Jan de Hond and myself entitled “The Sword and the Album. Material Memories and an Eighteenth-Century Poetic Account on the Execution of Johan van Oldenbarnevelt (1619)”. A digital copy can be found on my page.

In 1878 the Rijksmuseum acquired two objects related to the violent death of Johan van Oldenbarnevelt: the executioner’s sword allegedly used to behead the Land’s Advocate and an eighteenth-century album of poems about the weapon of execution. The article describes how these objects have functioned in the Oldenbarnevelt memory culture and shows how they have on new functions and meanings over the centuries – from a possible executioner’s weapon, to a republican and then national relic, to an objet de mémoire.