TALK with prof.dr. Lotte Jensen: Dutch Epistolary Novels

Join us for a talk by prof.dr. Lotte Jensen, professor of Dutch literature and cultural history, on the literary and historical relevance of the emergence of the epistolary novel in the Netherlands.

In her talk, Jensen will depart from the first Dutch epistolary novel, Sara Burgerhart (1782), written by Betje Wolff and Aagje Deken. Published in 1782, it consisted of 175 fictional letters, and is sometimes considered as the first Dutch novel. The two authors introduced the letter exchange as writing format in the Netherlands, to address themes of middleclass life, gender, Dutch identity and religion. It’s satirical style, aimed at bourgeois and Christian ideals, nonetheless is full of its own timely moralizations from the enlightenment era.

Following, Jensen will discuss other 18th century Dutch revolutionary epistolary novels including Julia (1783) by Rhijnvis Feith and De kleine Grandisson (1782) by Margaretha de Cambon-van der Werken, the first epistolary novel for children. She will situate them in an international context. Finally, she will reflect on the influence of the past on present day epistolary writing.


  • Lotte Jensen

Related Items