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Letters that Made History

Lisa Jardine, Temptation in the Archives: Essays in Golden Age Dutch Culture (London: UCL Press, 2015), ISBN: 978-1-910634-09-7, 146 pp.

Sabin Dumitru COROIAN


Intellectual convictions and common cultural outlooks of contemporary thought have deep roots in a long tradition of English-Dutch relations, started in the seventeenth century Europe. While revisiting the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, in spring 2013, Lisa Jardine, in her desire to capture a part of early modern history that usually escapes scrutiny, was inspired to write what would be her last book. The museum had just opened, after a long period of closure when it had gone through a process of refurbishment. The author saw in the museum a wooden box with a note inside and a rectangular block of stone on which, William Prince of Orange first set foot on English soil, a stone representing decades of political and cultural relations between the two countries. This, claims Jardine, has been the source of inspiration for a book that intends to present English-Dutch relations from a different historical perspective, a less common one, which relies on personal relationships between important figures of the era.

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