Dutch Crossing: About Stylometric Analyses, Dutch Musical and Converted Jews

Dutch Crossing: About Stylometric Analyses, Dutch Musical and Converted Jews

Science always dull? Forget it. Put a text in a computer and the machine can telll you more or less who wrote it. The true identity of Elena Ferrante was disclosed this way just as Marek van der Jagt turned out to be the Dutch writer Arnon Grunberg. You can read the full article and more fascinating stories in the newest edition of Dutch Crossing.

Dutch Crossing serves as the publication organ of both the Association for Low Countries Studies (ALCS) in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland and the American Association for Netherlandic Studies (AANS). Dr. Ulrich Tiedau (University College London) is the indefatigable Chief Editor of this A-listed, peer reviewed journal.

In the latest issue Mike Kestemont (Antwerp) wrote an article about the stylometric analysis of the corpus of medieval texts produced at the Brabantian Groenendaal monastery, close to Brussels, famous for its mystical tradition, of which Jan van Ruusbroec is the most well-known representative. Let us not forget that Ruusbroec remains, together with Anne Frank, the most frequently translated Dutch author of all time. Using text analytical tools Kestemont is able to attribute the anonymous Groenendaal texts to its likely authors, all of which have a very similar writing style. Kestemont demonstrates clearly the scholarly potential of computational techniques (quantitative, style-based) for the study of the rich textual heritage from the medieval Low Countries. Digital Humanities at its best!

Sanne Thierens (Winchester) states that the first Dutch musical play Heerlijk Duurt het Langst (Pleasure Pays Off, 1965) by the famous author, not just of children books, Annie M.G. Schmidt and composer Harry Bannink, was an important expression of uncommonly liberal and progressive values in its treatment of topics such as emancipation, feminism, adultery and sexuality. With its simple story about a bored married couple with the husband cheating on his wife with his secretary, Heerlijk became a hit. It illustrates the changing dynamics of the position of women and their relationship to sex in the light of the dawning sexual revolution and the second feminist wave to arrive, revealing the gaps between the characters of Marian, the contemporary housewife, Emma, the sexually liberated mistress, and Ido, the cheating patriarch.

Yzvi Aryeh Benoff (New York) examines the re-integration of Conversos into seventeenth-century Amsterdam’s Jewish community. When these converted Jewish expellees from Spanish and Portuguese controlled territories arrived in the Dutch capital, their re-integration into the local religious Jewish society posed considerable problems. Remember that Spinoza’s parents were among them. Eventually the Jewish community pronounced a ban of excommunication on their son. In 2012, the rabbinical head of the Portuguese-Israelite Community, when asked to reconsider the excommunication, decided to let it remain. But that’s another story.

Discover HERE all the articles of the newest Dutch Crossing.

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