Bilderdijk, Willem

Bilderdijk, Willem

(wĭl`əm bĭl`dərdīk), 1756–1831, Dutch poet. He tutored Louis Bonaparte in Dutch and later conducted a small private college at Leiden, where his pupils included Isaäc da CostaCosta, Isaäc da
, 1798–1860, Dutch poet and historian, b. Amsterdam, of an aristocratic Sephardic Jewish family. Deeply influenced by Bilderdijk, he entered (1822) the Reformed Church, and much of his poetry is fervently Christian.
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 and Jacob van LennepLennep, Jacob van
, 1802–68, Dutch writer. He was state's attorney (1852) and served in the legislature (1853–56). He is best known for his historical novels influenced by Walter Scott, which include The Adopted Son (1833, tr.
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. One of the pioneers of Dutch Romantic poetry, much of his output was religious in its inspiration. His most ambitious effort is an unfinished epic, De Ondergang der eerste Wareld [the destruction of the first creation] (1820), an account of the struggle among the descendants of Cain.
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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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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).


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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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