Innocence Abroad: The Dutch Imagination and the New World, 1570-1670

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Innocence Abroad explores the process of encounter that took place between the Netherlands and the New World in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The "discovery" of America coincided with the foundation of the Dutch Republic, a correspondence of much significance for the Netherlands. From the opening of their Revolt against Hapsburg Spain through the climax of their Golden Age, the Dutch looked to America--in political pamphlets and patriotic histories, epic poetry and allegorical prints, landscape painting and decorative maps--for a means of articulating a new national identity. This book demonstrates how the image of America fashioned by the Dutch, and especially the twin topoi of "innocence" and "tyranny," became integrally associated with evolving political, moral and economic agenda. It investigates the energetic Dutch response to the New World while examining, more generally, the operation of geographic discourse and colonial ideology within the Dutch Golden Age.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The supple and original thesis of Innocence Abroad is amply supported by meticulous evidence, much of it available here for the first time to readers unacquainted with Dutch...Schmidt has distilled a dense but rewarding work of cultural history, broad enough to interest early Americanists and Hispanists as well as scholars of the early modern Netherlands." Modern Language Quarterly

"Schmidt draws with virtuosic skill on a wide array of sources, both textual and visual..." Journal of Modern History

"Schmidt's volume goes a long way to help us understand Dutch values, concerns, and beliefs and sheds light on the purposes to which Europeans put their new knowledge of the Americas." Hispanic American Historical Review

"Expansive, well thought out, supremely well documented, and sumptuously illustrated." Renaissance Quarterly

"Schmidt's pioneering study of how Europeans imagined other peoples and places and forces that shaped those images suggests new approaches to history of early modern geography and enriches our understanding of the Dutch revolt and Dutch culture in the Golden Age." History

"By combining textual evidence and the plastic arts, Schmidt weaves a rich tapestry of how ideas of America entered and circulated in the collective Dutch imagination, and how these ideas ultimately worked to create a national consciousness. ....Schmidt is extremely successful in conveying how visual and textual representations can serve political, cultural, and economic ends." The Journal of Interdisciplinary History

"Innocence Abroad is a well-written book; it reads smoothly and is lard with relevant quotations and illustrations. The author has to be complimented for his good knowledge of the available Dutch sources, and the way he integrated these often very different sources in a concise, pleasant to read work." Itinerario

"this is a fscinating study in early modern cultural geography and colonial discourse...lucidly and elegantly written study." The International History Review

"On the whole, he has produced a valuable, coherent, and often elegant and entertaining text that will appeal to scholars in a wide variety of disciplines." Isis

"With this very readable book Schmidt goes where no other book has gone by looking at the peculiarly Dutch perspective on America." H-ATLANTIC

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521804080
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/2001
  • Pages: 480
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 1.38 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments; Preface: cultural geography in an age of encounter; 1. The Dutch discovery of America; 2. Revolutionary geography; 3. Innocence and commerce abroad; 4. A loss of innocence; 5. The rise and fall of America, or tyranny abroad; Epilogue: the Dutch and their new worlds; Notes; Bibliography; Index.
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