High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands

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Desert Island Dutch. Imaginary Voyages, Adventures and Robinsonades in the Low Countries
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Desert Island Dutch. Imaginary Voyages, Adventures and Robinsonades in the Low Countries

(Ton J. Broos ) The Low Countries - 1994, № 2, pp. 139-147

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About 18th-century Dutch robinsonades. The story of this genre is not yet complete: we lack a comprehensive bibliography and a clear picture of authors and reading public. However, it demonstrates that the presence of Dutchmen in colonial conquests around the globe was reflected in a literature not yet carved into modern literary conventions. It also shows how closely interconnected the North-West European literature of the time was. In addition to the interesting encounters of western-minded man (and woman) with other races and cultures, it has all the excitement of adventure and imagination in it. Prose had become an instrument for launching ideas, aggressive opinions and powerful fantasies. Travel in the eighteenth century was not just a tourist's adventure with many inconveniences; it was still in an exploratory phase in a world that had not yet given up all its secrets. Together these elements formed a strong formula for success.

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