Joost van den Vondel

Joost van den Vondel

Joost van den Vondel (November 17, 1587 - February 5, 1679) was a Dutch writer and playwright.


Vondel was born in the "Große Witschgasse" in Cologne, to Mennonite parents from Antwerpian descent. In 1595, probably because of their religious conviction, they fled to Utrecht and from this town they went to tolerant Amsterdam in the newly formed Dutch Republic.

At the age of 23 Vondel married Mayken de Wolff. Together they had four children, of which two died at a very young age. After the death of his father in 1608, Vondel managed the silk shop the Vondels had in Amsterdam. In the meantime, he began to learn Latin and became acquainted with famous poets such as Roemer Visscher.

Around the year 1641 he was converted to Catholicism. This was a great shock to most of his fellow countrymen, because the main conviction and de facto state religion in the Republic was Calvinist Protestantism. It is still unclear why he became a Catholic, although his love for a Catholic lady may have played a role in this (Mayken de Wolff had died in 1635).

During his life he became one of the main advocates for religious tolerance. After the arrest, trial and the immediate beheading of the most important civilian leader of the States of Holland Johan van Oldenbarnevelt (1619) at the command of his, by then, enemy Prince Maurits of Nassau, and the Synod of Dordrecht (1618-1619), the Calvinists had become the decisive religious power in the Republic. Public worship of Catholicism, Anabaptism and Arminianism was from then on officially forbidden; although worship in hidden houses of prayer was not persecuted. Vondel wrote many satires criticising the Calvinists and extolling Oldenbarnevelt. This, together with his new faith, made him an unpopular figure in Calvinist circles. He died a bitter man - though he was honoured by many fellow poets - on February 5, 1679.

As a legacy, Amsterdam's biggest park, the Vondelpark, bears his name, as well as his statue in the northern part of the park. The Dutch five guilder banknote bore Vondel's portrait from 1950 until its discontinuation in 1990.

"Lucifer" and Milton’s "Paradise Lost"

It has often been suggested that John Milton drew inspiration from "Lucifer" (1654) and "Adam in Ballingschap" (1664) for his "Paradise Lost" (1667). In some respects the two works have similarities: the focus on Lucifer, the description of the battle in heaven between Lucifer’s forces and Michael’s, and the anti-climax as Adam and Eve need to leave Paradise.These similarities however can be explained quite satisfactorily by assuming that they both drew inspiration from the Bible and perhaps "Adamus exil" from Hugo Grotius. Although it is certain that Milton knew some Dutch, because Roger Williams taught him in exchange for Hebrew lessons, it is to be doubted that Milton knew enough Dutch to understand the plays and at that time English translations of Vondel’s works did not exist. Lastly, both works differ in many points, mainly in the dialogues.

An example of similarity is the following:

"Here may we reign secure, and in my choice To reign is worth ambition, though in Hell.

Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven."

:Milton's "Paradise Lost"

"Is ’t noodlot, dat ick vall’, van eere en staet berooft,
Laet vallen, als ick vall’, met deze kroone op ’t hooft,
Dien scepter in de vuist, dien eersleip van vertrouden,
En zoo veel duizenden als onze zyde houden.
Dat valle streckt tot eer, en onverwelckbren lof:
En liever d’ eerste Vorst in eenigh laeger hof,
Dan in ’t gezalight licht de tweede, of noch een minder
Zoo troost ick my de kans, en vrees nu leet noch hinder."

"Is it fate that I will fall, robbed of honour and dignity,"
"Then let me fall, if I were to fall, with this crown upon my head"
"This sceptre in my fist, this company of loyals,"
"And as many as are loyal to our side."
"This fall would honour one, and give unwilting praise:"
"And rather [would I be] foremost king in any lower court,"
"Than rank second in most holy light, or even less"
"Thus I justify my revolt, and will now fear pain nor hindrance."

:Vondel's "Lucifer"

Online texts

* [ Project Laurens Jz. Coster well-formatted HTML version] "Others"
* [ Gijsbreght van Aemstel]
* [ Different works by Vondel]

Vondel in popular culture

* [ Vondel's Lucifer 1st Movement] . An operatic treatment of Lucifer by the Neofolk band H.E.R.R.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Joost van den Vondel — (Philips Koninck, 1665) Joost van den Vondel (* 17. November 1587 in Köln; † 5. Februar 1679 in Amsterdam) war ein niederländischer Dichter und Dramatiker. Inhaltsve …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Joost van Den Vondel —     Joost van Den Vondel     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► Joost van Den Vondel     Netherland poet and convert, b. at Cologne, 17 Nov., 1587, of parents whose residence was originally at Antwerp; d. 5 Feb., 1679. Of his early youth nothing is known …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Joost Van Den Vondel — Joost van den Vondel est un écrivain, poète et dramaturge hollandais né à Cologne le 17 novembre 1587, mort à Amsterdam le 5 février …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Joost van den vondel — Joost van den Vondel est un écrivain, poète et dramaturge hollandais né à Cologne le 17 novembre 1587, mort à Amsterdam le 5 février …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Joost van den Vondel — Activités dramaturge Naissance 17 novembre 1587 Cologne Décès 5 février  …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Joost van den Vondel — Retrato de Vondel por Philip de Koninck, 1665. Joost van den Vondel (Colonia, 17 de noviembre de 1587 – Ámsterdam, 5 de febrero de 1679) dramaturgo y poeta neerlandés, el más célebre del siglo de oro holandés. Vondel nació en la calle Grosse… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Prix Joost van den Vondel — Le Prix Joost van den Vondel (en allemand Joost van den Vondelpreis) fut un prix culturel, décerné entre 1960 et 2000 par la fondation Alfred Toepfer à des artistes, scientifiques et institutions du domaine culturel néerlandais, flamand et bas… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Vondel, Joost van Den — • Netherland poet and convert (1587 1679) Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Vondel, Joost van Den     Joost van Den Vondel …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Vondel, Joost van den — (17 nov. 1587, Colonia–5 feb. 1679, Amsterdam). Poeta y dramaturgo holandés. De padres menonitas, Vondel mostró desde temprano una marcada preferencia por la mitología cristiana como tema en la concepción de sus obras. También escribió poemas… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Vondel, Joost van den — born Nov. 17, 1587, Cologne died Feb. 5, 1679, Amsterdam Dutch poet and dramatist. Of Mennonite parents, Vondel early showed a preference for using Christian mythology as the subject matter of his plays. He also wrote lampoons and satirical poems …   Universalium

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