Joanna Rozendaal MA
Area(s) of interest: Dutch History, Gender, History of Books, Languages & Literature, Eighteenth Century
What women read – Book ownership in the Dutch Republic (1702-1842) and women’s access to the ideas of the Enlightenment
Supervisor(s): Prof. dr. A.C. Montoya; Prof. dr. J.B. Oosterman
My thesis investigates female book ownership and women’s access to literature in the eighteenth-century Dutch Republic, drawing for a large part on results from the ERC-funded MEDIATE (Measuring Enlightenment: Disseminating Ideas, Authors and Texts in Europe, 1665–1830) project at Radboud University, Nijmegen. Unearthing the reading habits of women in centuries gone by has turned out to be a fruitful subject of study, shedding light on how women participated in and contributed to the cultural changes in their time. In the Dutch Sprachraum however, a lot is still to be done. A few case studies have been undertaken, but the lack of sources and the marginal role early modern women seem to present the modern-day scholar with problems. I propose to start filling this gap in our knowledge of the Dutch eighteenth-century female book owner and her access to the ideas of the Enlightenment by combining existing in-depth (albeit often anecdotal) knowledge on the subject with the study of three different contemporary sources that have not been used hitherto to study women’s book ownership: private library book sale catalogues; bookseller’s archives and book subscription lists.