Spin-doctoring and self-promotion: making the most of yourself in the Dutch Golden Age
"The above is an abridged title. A fuller, though still incomplete, title, which should make it clear how impossible it is to do justice to this formidable book in a review, would read: Printmaking, allegory, satire, the cartoon; history, learning, legal scholarship, antiquarianism, journalism, heraldry; politics, patronage, sycophancy; artistry, technical innovation; spin-doctoring, propoganda, fake news; pamphleteering, publishing, entrepreneurship; careerism, self-fashioning, self-promotion, social climbing; depravity, lechery, incest, pimping, pornography; libertinism, blasphemy, heresy, atheism, spinozism; corruption, skulduggery,fraud, double-dealing, embezzlement, mendacity; scandal, libel, intrigue, treason, spying and just plain finagling in the Dutch Golden Age ... Anyone interested in any of the characteristics embodied by Romeyn de Hooghe will find a lot to enjoy and learn from in this book." - Gary Schwartz, read the full review on Amazon.
"I must admit that while I expected to be impressed, knowing the earlier work of this author, the text surpassed my expectations: it is a truly outstanding and in every way excellent contribution to the history of the Golden Age. Romeyn de Hooghe was the foremost engraver of the later Dutch Golden Age, a highly influential figure in the spread of engraving and etching in Europe as far as Russia, immensely productive and also a major figure in the Dutch and international political propaganda and pamphlet wars of the era. Despite his obvious importance, previous efforts had never got beyond brief and in some cases misleading sketches because of the great complexity of the subject matter and because much of this in part murky story remained buried in little studied notarial and unpublished juridical manuscript sources. It needed a lot of painstaking research, patience and a thorough knowledge of many aspects of Dutch history in the Golden Age to be able to succeed in this venture. The author has succeeded in achieving what no one has succeeded in in doing previously - setting out a clear, detailed and convincing, well-supported account of the sometimes seemingly baffling shifts and swerves in De Hooghe's career, fortunes, reputation and political stance." - Jonathan Israel, professor emeritus, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton
"This book offers a fascinating portrait of the etcher, pamphleteer, pornographer, provocateur, freethinker, spy, author, entrepreneur, husband and father, Romeyn de Hooghe. The account of how he became embroiled in controversy and intrigue throughout his life yields an invaluable perspective of the cultural and political history of the Dutch Golden Age. The book is also remarkably relevant in this age of international political machinations, propaganda, and the distortion and concealment of information by spin doctors and the media." - Huigen Leeflang, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
Romeyn de Hooghe was the most inventive and prolific etcher of the later Dutch Golden Age. The producer of wide-ranging book illustrations, newsprints, allegories, and satire, he is best known as the chief propaganda artist working for stadtholder and king William III. This study, the first book-length biography of de Hooghe, narrates how his reputation became badly tarnished when he was accused of pornography, fraud, larceny, and atheism. Traditionally regarded as a godless rogue, and more recently as an exponent of the Radical Enlightenment, de Hooghe emerges in this study as a successful entrepreneur, a social climber, and an Orangist spin doctor. A study in seventeenth-century political culture and patronage, focusing on spin and slander, this book explores how artists, politicians, and hacks employed literature and the visual arts in political discourse, and tried to capture their readership with satire, mockery, fun, and laughter.
Henk van Nierop is Professor Emeritus of Early Modern History at the University of Amsterdam. He has widely published on the Dutch Revolt and the Dutch Golden Age. He is the author of The Nobility of Holland: From Knights to Regents, 1500-1650 (1993) and Treason in the Northern Quarter: War, Terror, and the Rule of Law in the Dutch Revolt (2009).