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From the Enlightenment to Romanticism

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Chapter Summary

While in the seventeenth century every effort was being made in the Dutch Republic to study eastern languages, similar initiatives were also being taken in the rest of Europe. As in Leiden, the study of Arabic was a mixture of secular and theological Interests. Under the influence of the Enlightenment and, from the second half of the eighteenth century on, early Romanticism, an educated public showed ever more interest in Arabic and Persian literature. Hendrik Albert Schultens took an active interest in contemporary European literature and his private library contained the latest German, French and English novels. As a moderate and amiable man with manners he was regarded as a Citizen of the Enlightenment, and he was portrayed as such by the artist Wybrand Hendriks, 'kastelein' or curator of the Teylers Museum in Haarlem. Schultens' views on Arabic literature and culture emerge clearly from a couple of lectures.

Keywords: Arabic literature; Dutch Republic; early Romanticism; European literature; Persian literature

10.1163/9789004266339_005
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