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PhD defense Eleá de la Porte (UvA) – 2 July 2019

‘Verlichte verhalen. De omgang met het verleden in de Nederlandse verlichting’

Supervised by Prof. Wyger Velema.

Early in the eighteenth century, European thinkers described the period in which they lived as ‘enlightened’. This realisation of being part of a developed, civilised and commercial period in history created a new relationship with the past.

A historical narrative was formulated in terms of progress that functioned as a common historical frame of reference. That story outlined a process of European civilisation from (partly enlightened) classical antiquity, via the ‘barbaric’ Middle Ages to the modern, commercial European state system. Eleá de la Porte has conducted a broad exploration of Dutch-language source material in order to find the enlightenment story of the Netherlands in the eighteenth-century.