The Life and Work of Dirck Volkertszoon Coornhert


History and Philosophy

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The sixteenth-century Dutch spiritualist and controversialist, Dirck Volckertszoon Coornhert (1522-1590), is increasingly recognized as a pivotal figure in the cultural and political life of the early Dutch Republic. With the appearance of Henk Bonger’s widely acclaimed biography (1978), the first complete account of Coornhert’s life became available in the Dutch language. Today this biography is still the starting point of any serious research on Coornhert and his circle. This translation now makes this standard biography available in English for the first time. The translator profited from Henk Bonger’s comments on the translated chapters, and the author approved of adaptations and changes where these were deemed necessary. The structure and most of the chapters of the book are as they were in the original. The chief changes are: the abridgment and combination into one chapter of the two original chapters on Coornhert’s creative work and his translations. The ample quotes from Coornhert contained in the text enable the reader to attain a first hand acquaintance with Coornhert’s profound thought and inimitable style. References have been updated and some explanatory remarks intended for a non-Dutch readership were added. The translation is complemented with a full bibliography of Coornhert’s writings, as well as an up-to-date bibliography of the secondary literature; with 25 illustrations.


Translated, Edited and Annotated by Gerrit Voogt.