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Noah's Ark Disembarked In Holland: Animals In Dutch Poetry, 1500–1700

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Chapter Summary

The fact that Constantijn Huygens used the death of Silly to comment on the madness of the contemporary world does not appear to detract from his personal emotion. The presence of animals in Dutch literature - even when limited to poetry from 1550-1700 - is not exactly a fleabite, despite Brom's gloomy words. This chapter sketches the presence, the place and the role of animals in Dutch society as represented in its poetry. The history of the beast fable is extensive and takes us back to the cradle of western literature. The most important author of fables in antiquity was Aesop. The work of Jacob Westerbaen in particular is remarkable. Where Cats used animals almost always in a didactic manner, Jacob Westerbaen is probably one of the first persons in Holland to look at and enjoy nature in a modern way.

Keywords: Aesop; beast fable; Constantijn Huygens; Dutch literature; Holland; Jacob Westerbaen



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