Gardens of Fear and Fame. Ecophobia and biophilia in the early modern 'hofdicht'.

01 November 2023 → 31 October 2027
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Humanities
    • Early modern literature
    • Literatures in Dutch
    • Literary criticism
ecocriticism Dutch Republic Garden literature
Project description

This project explores the early modern attitude toward nature through the popular literary medium of the "hofdicht". In this genre the gardens and country houses of the elite are celebrated. By praising the gardens, the poets express a desire for a life in nature, but through the production of geometrical and enclosed gardens, man tries to control nature. I aim to find out how these biophilic and ecophobic tendencies in garden culture of the seventeenth century are reflected in the "hofdicht" to create a better understanding of the ideas on nature in the Dutch Republic. This ecocritical analysis approaches early modern poems in the context of the current climate crisis and the contemporary interaction with nature: to what extent can we observe similar tensions of love and fear for nature in contemporary interaction with our environment?