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Masterclass Prof. James A. Parente, Jr. (Minnesota)

Transnational Literary History in a Multilingual Age

Date: 13 February 2018
Time: 11-14.30hr
Venue: Amsterdam, Het Universiteitstheater, Nieuwe Doelenstraat 16 – zaal 1.01A
Open to: scholars, PhD students, (R)MA students, scholars
Credits: 1 ECTS (for PhD and RMa students only)
Coordination: Prof. Lia van Gemert
Maximum participants in this event: 25
Register: Send an e-mail to:
Register before: 5 February 2018

In this masterclass Prof. Parente will speak about Transnational Literary History in a Multilingual Age. After general discussion and a lunch break participants can discuss their own themes with professor Parente. The session after lunch will also be open for participants who have not sent in questions.

Literary history once again appears en vogue. With increasing frequency, there have been “new” histories of French (1989; 2010), German (2005), American (2009), and modern Chinese literature (2017), an “atlas” (atlante) of Italian literature (2010-2012), a spatial literary history of Denmark (2010), a new literary history of Al-Andalus (2000), and three separate encyclopedias of Neo-Latin writing (2013, 2015, 2017). A new paradigm for writing European literary history has also been exemplified by David Wallace (2016). Most notably, the final installment of the 10-volume, 8,000-page history of Dutch literature (GNL)was completed in late 2016. The Master Class will explore this renewed interest in literary history, the ways in which the traditional narratives of literary history have been questioned, discarded, or revised, and the recent challenges to writing literary history in the age of global connectivity. We will question the function of literary history, discuss its continued utility, and explore alternatives for writing history for the early modern period in which national and linguistic boundaries were still in flux. Special attention will be paid to the construction of transnational and multilingual narratives for the Low Countries.

James A. Parente, Jr. (Ph.D., Germanic Languages and Literatures, Yale University) is a Professor of German, Scandinavian and Dutch literature at the University of Minnesota and Director of the Minnesota Center for German and European Studies. He is a specialist in early modern (1400-1750) German, Dutch, and Nordic literatures and cultures, and early modern Neo-Latin literature. He is the author of Religious Drama and the Humanist Tradition: Christian Theater in Germany and the Netherlands, 1500-1680, and has edited/ co-edited two anthologies of critical work on the early modern Holy Roman Empire, and another on modern Scandinavian literature. He has published widely on early modern German, Dutch and Neo-Latin literature, especially drama; Renaissance humanism; gender and sexuality in the German Empire; the Dutch Golden Age; early modern Danish literature, and Henrik Ibsen. He is currently working on translational literary relations between the German Empire, the Netherlands, and Nordic Europe, and on the historiography of Europe in the early modern period.

co-organizers and related events:

  • co-organizers; ACSGA (Van Gemert)
  • related event: Golden Age Seminar, 13 February 2018 by prof. James Parente, Jr., 15.30-17.00, VOC-zaal Bushuis, Kloveniersburgwal 48, 1012 CX Amsterdam. The title of this lecture is: Border Crossings and the Emergence of Dutch Literature. See .


day planning (incl. coffee and tea, and lunch breaks)

  • 11:00 Room open, coffee and tea
  • 11.15-12:30 Lecture with general discussion
  • 12:30-13:15 Lunch in Museumcafé (Oude Turfmarkt 129): participants take care and pay for their own lunch
  • 13:15-14:00 Discussion on themes that the participants have sent in or bring up during the masterclass

Preparation and proposed readings and assigment:

  1. Participation in first and second part of the masterclass (so before and after lunch)
  2. A clear description of the questions you have for prof. Parente, linked to a clear description of your research theme and the steps you have already taken or would consider to take. The maximum number of questions is 3. Questions must be sent in before 5 February (to and cc to
  3. The Golden Age seminar in the afternoon is not obligatory for obtaining the 1 EC credit.

Reading for preparation (pdf’s will be sent after we have received your registration at the registration address):

  • Bloemendal, Jan. “Introduction: Bilingualism, Multilingualism and the Formation of Europe.” In Bilingual Europe: Latin and Vernacular Cultures, Examples of Bilingualism and Multilingualism, c. 1300-1800. Ed. Jan Bloemendal. Leiden: Brill, 2015. Pp. 1-14.
  • Deneire, Tom. “Neo-Latin Literature and the Vernacular.” In A Guide to Neo-Latin Literature. Ed. Victoria Moul. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017. Pp. 35-51.
  • Gelderblom, Arie Jan and Anne Marie Musschoot. Ongeziene blikken: Nabeschouwing bij de “Geschiedenis van de Nederlandse literatuur.” Amsterdam: Bert Bakker, 2017. Pp. 7-38.
  • Schenkeveld-van der Dussen, M. A., ed. Nederlandse literatuur, een geschiedenis. Groningen: Nijhoff, 1993. “Woord vooraf,” pp. v-viii.
  • Wallace, David. “Table of Contents” and “General Introduction”, in: Europe: A Literary History, 1348-1418. Vol. 1. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016. Pp. viii-xiii + [table of contents: xxvii-xlii].

After general discussion and a lunch break participants can discuss their own themes with professor Parente.

Please sent your questions by 5 February to Prof Lia van Gemert and cc to