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Rosalie Versmissen MA

PhD candidate


Area(s) of interest: Dutch History, History of Books, Modern & Contemporary History, Political History

Cohort/Start PhD: 2023-2024

Reading for Change. Literature and politics during the Dutch age of revolutions 1789 – 1830

Overarching project: Civic fictions. Modelling book-reader interactions in the Age of Revolution, c. 1760-1830

Radboud University

Supervisors: Prof. dr. Alicia Montoya and Prof. dr. Jan Hein Furnée.

In this study I will trace the history of how books influenced governance between two revolutionary periods in Dutch history: from the beginning of the Batavian Republic to the Belgian Revolution of 1830. I will so by analyzing and contextualizing the library borrowing records of the Dutch National Library between 1798 – 1830. Since the National Library was deliberately created to assist the political elite in their parliamentary activities, the records reflect the borrowing, and assumingly the consultation, behavior of those who held office between 1799 and 1830 and shine new light on the reading practices of the long eighteenth and early nineteenth century. These records are an exceptionally rich, however practically neglected, source as full recordings of the borrowings (book borrowed, date of borrowing and return, name of lender) have been preserved from the library’s creation in 1798. The registers provide ideal material to study the relationship between books and the ideological positionings of individuals and will therefore serve as the backbone of my thesis.