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'Covered In The Thickest Darkness Of Forgetfulness': Humanist Commonplaces And The Defence Of Medievalism In Janus Dousa's Metrical History (1599)

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Chapter Summary

In 1599, Janus Dousa the Elder published his metrical work of history about the medieval past of his native Holland. This chapter raises the question of the connection between early modern conventional thought about the Middle Ages on the one hand and the justification of humanist medievalist practices on the other. Their uneasy combination is the main issue addressed in the chapter. In the Annales rerum a priscis Hollandiae comitibus gestarum, the work that is discussed in the chapter, Dousa describes the history of Holland from 841 until 1207 in Latin elegiac distichs. To given an overview of Dousa's ideas about the Middle Ages, the chapter investigates how unfavourable commonplaces can be intertwined in a rhetoric of self-justification by clarifying the temporal demarcations of the medieval in the Annales. The final move of Dousa's argument is the assertion that the Middle Ages are of paramount importance to the fatherland.

Keywords: early modern medievalism; humanist commonplaces; Janus Dousa's metrical history; Latin elegance; temporal boundaries



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