Willem Bilderdijk

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Bilderdijk, Willem


Born Sept. 7, 1756, in Amsterdam; died Dec. 18, 1831, in Haarlem. Dutch poet, philologist, and historian. Representative of the religious-mystical trend in the Dutch romantic school. A lawyer by profession.

Since he was a supporter of the monarchy, Bilderdijk left Holland in 1795, during the period of the Batavian Republic. He returned in 1806, when Holland became a monarchy, and was appointed librarian to Louis Bonaparte. He was the author of many didactic narrative poems (Country Life, 1802; The Art of Poetry, 1809; and The World of Spirits, 1811), lyrical narrative poems (The Freeing of Holland, vols. 1–2, 1813–14), and hymns (“Willem Frederik,” 1815). He also wrote a philological work, The Principles of Etymology (1831). A History of the Fatherland (13 vols.), which was issued after his death by his pupils, is written in the spirit of absolutism, as were his tragedies (Floris V and Kormak).


Dichtwerken, parts 1–15. Haarlem, 1856–59.


Kollewijn, R. A. Bilderdijk: Zijn leven en zijn werken, parts 1–2. Amsterdam, 1891.
Bavinck, H. Bilderdijk als denker en dichter. Kampen, 1906.
Jong, M. J. G., and W. Zaal. Bilderdijk W.: Een overzicht van zijn leven en een keuze uit zijn werken. Kampen, 1960.


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Along the way, Bratt realizes also the influence of Calvin, of course, along with John a Lasco, Althusius (133), Bilderdijk, and others from within the Reformed tradition.
Mongside Byron, Pope and Scott, one finds Bilderdijk and Geel.
Howard Gaskill, in his famous article on "Ossian in Europe" summarizes the early European reception with the following words: "There is certainly some force to the argument that the Ossian which influenced Europe was not in fact Macpherson at all, but respectively Cesarotti, Denis, Le Tourneur, Bilderdijk, etc.