On the Representation of an Early Modern Dutch Storm in Two Poems

Authors

  • Katrin Pfeifer

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.3384/cu.2000.1525.1572433

Keywords:

Environmental history, cultural history, the Netherlands, Early Modern Period, natural disaster, storm, perception, poetry

Abstract

On 19th December 1660, a severe storm raged over the Dutch isle of Texel, causing severe damage. It proceeded to destroy parts of the city of Amsterdam. Both the sailor and merchant Gerrit Jansz Kooch and the priest Joannes Vollenhove wrote a poem about this natural disaster, presumably independently of each other. The poets perceived the storm differently: Kooch, an eyewitness of the storm, matter-of-factly portrays the calamity and details a feud between his son-in-law and a colleague to commemorate the day of the disaster. In contrast, Vollenhove personifies the winter storm and struggles to understand it. Their poems are valuable sources for a cultural historical analysis. After a brief review of historical severe storm research, I will analyse these poems from a cultural historical point of view. I will shed light on how this severe storm was represented poetically in the Early Modern Period.

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Published

2015-10-28

Issue

Section

Theme: Cultures of Disasters