Gardens of Fear and Fame: Ecophobia and conceptualisations of nature in the Dutch 'hofdicht' (1653 1710)

01 October 2022 → 31 October 2023
Regional and community funding: Special Research Fund
Research disciplines
  • Humanities
    • Early modern literature
    • Literary criticism
    • Literary history
Ecocriticism early modern poetry garden poetry
Project description

This project explores the early modern attitude toward nature through the very 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?