Join us for our 2016 annual lecture on ‘The Diary of Constantijn Huygens Jr (1628-1697), Secretary to King William of Orange: Life in London and The Hague seen through the eyes of a Dutch Pepys’.
Tuesday 25 October | 6.30pm | Gustave Tuck lecture theatre, 2nd Floor, South Junction, Wilkins Building, Gower Street, WC1E 6BT
Constantijn Huygens Jr, the secretary to Stadholder-King William of Orange, kept a diary during most of his life. In his diary he wrote about his private and professional life, about politics in the Dutch Republic and England, and about the military campaigns he witnessed, including the Glorious Revolution and the Battle of the Boyne. From 1688 to 1696 he spent much of his time in London. He wrote often about his interest in science and about his brother, Christiaan Huygens. The diary also documents his role as book collector and as connoisseur of art. Finally, Huygens was a zealous chronicler of scandals and gossip, wich is why he has been called a Dutch Samuel Pepys. His secret diary is a unique egodocument of the Dutch Golden Age.
Rudolf Dekker studied history at the University of Amsterdam and wrote a dissertation on riots and revolts in the 17th century. He taught history at the Erasmus University Rotterdam (1981-2010) and directs the research group “Egodocuments and History” at the Huizinga Institute, Research School for Cultural History (University of Amsterdam). Recently he published The Diary of Constantijn Huyhes Jr (Panchaud 2015), an English translation of a selection of the Huygens diary, and Family, Culture and Society in the Diary of Constantijn Huygens Jr (Brill 2013). He also wrote about the current situation of the Dutch academic world, The Road to Excellent Ruin. Dutch Universities, Past, Present and Future (Panchaud 2015). Other books include Child of the Enlightenment, Revolutionary Europe reflected in a Boyhood Diary (Brill 2009), with Arianne Baggerman, Humour in Dutch Culture of the Golden Age (Palgrave 2001) and The Tradition of Female Transvestism in Early Modern Europe (Macmillan 1989), with Lotte van de Pol. He also wrote a history of the Netherlands: Meer verleden dan toekomst. Geschiedenis van verdwijnend Nederland (Bert Bakker 2008).
The talk will be followed by a reception in the South Cloisters.