Willem Bilderdijk

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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).

WORKS

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

REFERENCES

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.

V. V. OSHIS

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Bilderdijk realized this when he wrote Da Costa: "The fact that those who are by profession merchants and gamblers have no Christianity is self-explanatory." See Abraham Kuyper, The Problem of Poverty, ed.
Mongside Byron, Pope and Scott, one finds Bilderdijk and Geel.
(27) See in particular the text cited above in note 6 and also 'Bilderdijk between Pope and Byron: the Paradoxes of his Translation of An Essay on Man into Dutch' in C.
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.: in other words, a hybrid creature mediated through Italian hendecasyllabic sciolti, German hexameters, French poetic prose, Dutch alexandrines, not to mention Greek fifteen-syllable lines or Russian four-foot trochaics with dactylic endings." (64) Perhaps we may rightly add that Janos Batsanyi's poetic experiments and the early Hungarian reception of Ossian fully exemplify the contemporary European tendency.
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Although poetry written in Latin by da Costa had been published earlier, it was his first Dutch-language poetry, De lof der dichtkunst (1813; "In Praise of Poetry"), that came to the attention of the influential poet Willem Bilderdijk. Under Bilderdijk's influence, da Costa, who was of Portuguese-Jewish descent, converted to Calvinism.
He spent the later years of his life writing the biography of Bilderdijk and editing 15 volumes of Bilderdijk's poetry.
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.
Born of a strongly Calvinist and monarchist family, Bilderdijk had a crippled foot and spent a precocious childhood among books.