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Thom Tolboom MA

PhD candidate


Area(s) of interest: Dutch History, Early Modern History, Languages & Literature, Political History

Cohort/Start PhD: 2023-2024

Literary mockery in the Dutch Republic: Aesthetics and political meaning of early modern Dutch humour texts

Radboud University

Supervisors: Prof. dr. Lotte Jensen, Dr. Ivo Niewenhuis, Dr. Cécile de Morrée.

My research investigates the relationship between the aesthetic or formal dimensions of Dutch humour texts (1600-1800) and the political meanings they generated. My approach departs from the assumption that the formal aspects of a humour text (style; rhythm; use of metaphors of figures of speech) can do political work, without assuming humour to be inherently subversive and liberating or repressive and conservative. The source corpus consists of a large variety of early modern comedic texts and genres, which allows for intertextual analysis of  the borrowing and adapting  of comedic modes and motifs between authors and genres. In studying the working of textual humour, I will have special attention for the material dimension of texts and the way they were consumed by readers, which, like the text-internal aesthetics, had an impact on the possible effects and meanings of these texts.