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The Early Reception Of Montaigne In Holland: Van Hout, Coornhert And Spiegel

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Chapter Summary

This chapter returns once more to the beginning, the beginning of the Montaigne reception in Dutch vernacular literature: the translation of Jan van Hout. One question about this translation has been ignored until now, but it is an important one: why did Van Hout choose to translate ‘De la modération’ rather than another chapter? In order to understand why Van Hout translated ‘De la modération’ in particular, we must ask ourselves what poetry and literature meant to him and other authors of his generation. One aim was promotion of the Dutch language. They wanted to give their own language a status equal to that of other languages, both classic and modern. Van Hout translated numerous classical, Italian and French authors. Coornhert translated Cicero, Seneca, Boethius and Homer. Among other authors, Spiegel translated Epictetus. In their translations they strove for a language free of loanwords: Van Hout’s translation witnessed to this.

Keywords: D.V. Coornhert; De la modération; Dutch vernacular literature; Holland; Jan Van Hout; Montaigne; Spiegel; translation

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