#Dutch: Winner Libris History Prize 2018
- Author: Frits van Oostrom
- Title: Nobel Streven
- Published: 2017 (Uitgever Prometheus)
- Trivia: WINNER !! Libris History Prize (Best History Book 2018)
- Trivia: Prize announcement 28 October 2018
- Trivia: Website Prof. F. Oostrom
- List of Challenges 2018
- Monthly plan
- Non-Fiction Reading List
- The Dutch literary-historical scholar gives us an
- incredible true story of the Late Middle Ages
- knight (ridder) Jan van Brederode. (1370-1415)
- Lord of Brederode was the heir apparent of an
- important Dutch noble family
- a lay brother in a Carthusian monastery
- mercenary who died during the Battle of Agincourt.
Book Cover: I was intrigued…what does it mean?
- Van Oostrom has chosen an image of the Wheel of Fortune.
- In the Middle Ages is was a
- …symbol of the capricious nature of Fate.
- Jan van Brederode’s fate: a childless marriage.
- It led him on a roller-coaster life that would have been
- …so different if only there was an heir.
- Here is a beautiful image by Jean Mielot with 4 stages of life:
- Left : I shall reign
- Top: I reign
- Right: I have reigned
- Bottom: lowly figure…I am without a kingdom
Strong point: archival research
- Van Oostrom is NOT relying on secondary sources or
- dated translations of medieval narratives.
- Van Oostrom ‘gets his hands dirty’
- ….does the hard work visiting achives in
- The Netherlands but most importantly
- …going to libraries in other neighboring lands.
Strong point: scholarly rigour which led to a literary discovery!
- Van Oostrom has found the author
- …of the Van Hulthem manuscript.
- It is nicknamed the “Night Watch of Middle Dutch literature”.
- This document is of invaluable importance
- providing a new look at the Late Middle Ages.
Strong point: readable
- Van Oostorm is a renowned Dutch historical scholar
- ….but he also knows his audience.
- He wanted to present to the average reader
- an intelligent picture of the Late Middle Ages
- in The Netherlands (1350-1450).
- His text is lucid, instructive yet has a ‘modern whiff’ using
- many familiar language idioms
- …and even references to
- Google maps an making a parallel
- between the Frisian Wars in on the periode 1399-1407
- and the 1967 Vietnam debacle.
Strong point: scope
- Van Oostrom draws on the chronicles of
- …Jan van Leiden (ca. 1480) but does not
- venture off into stories about
- …pageants, the Plague or Papal Schism.
- He keeps the focus on Jan van Brederode and his family.
- Van Oostrom brings history closer to the reader showing us
- …that people in the 21st C are so similar to those in the 14th C.
- We both struggle with debts, marriage (pressure to produce an heir)
- inheritance rights, family loyalty, a ‘Shylock’ of a father-in-law (Willem van Abcoude)!
Strong point: last chapters
- Just when I thought I had
- …reached my ‘history’ saturation point
- Van Oostrum revives me with a heartfelt chapter
- about the importance of historical investigation.
- He refers to many fellow 21st C historians
- who have provided pieces to a larger puzzle
- that give us all new insights into the past.
- #Bravo, Frits van Oostrom!