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Document Details :
Title: Dromen van een toekomstige geschiedenis
Subtitle: Representatie van het verleden in Maurits van Nassau van Johannes Nomsz (1789)
Author(s): MADELEIN, Christophe
Journal: Spiegel der Letteren
Volume: 60 Issue: 1-2 Date: 2018
In 1789 Johannes Nomsz published an epic poem on Maurits of Nassau, and more specifically the Battle of Nieuwpoort (1600). In the fifth canto he describes a dream in which Maurits sees his descendants, and their glorious role in the (future) history of the Dutch Republic. This canto fits the historical events of the military campaign into a larger (timeless) framework of the unity of God, the Dutch Republic and the House of Orange. With this poem Nomsz aimed to re-establish his reputation as a true orangist after a period of political turmoil and personal volatility: in the 1780s Nomsz switched sides from orangist to patriot, and then again to orangist. I claim that this dream scene is a literary, rhetorical construction, aimed at minimizing the historical distance between the events described and the reader. This aesthetic interplay of past, present, and future has a distinct ideological dimension: by means of literary devices the dream scene does not only invite the reader to empathize with the (historical) protagonist and focalizer – Maurits of Nassau – but also with the contemporary narrator, Johannes Nomsz.