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Young Agents

Young Agents

Jonge Auteurs op de vroegmoderne boekenmarkt

In this article, we investigate the role of young authors on the upcoming and flourishing book market of the Dutch Republic (1550-1800), focusing in particular on their ‘agency’. By investigating the specific contribution of young authors to this market and by discriminating between roles of young adults and adults, we introduce a new approach to early modern authorship. Combining quantitative digital experiments and qualitative textual analyses, we seek to tease out the dynamic relationship between the young authors’ independence, competences, and behaviour on the one hand, and representations, self-images and production figures on the other.

The first results of our research reveal that young authors frequently showed themselves indebted to their masters, but also created their own voice, often self-confident and engaged, by appropriating specific genres and topics in new ways. Contrary to what contemporary poetics and well-known forms of (self) reflection suggest, young authors appear to have had a clear, outspoken presence in the Dutch book market which became ever more prominent in both the consumption and production of Dutch books.

This publication is available in Open Access (Dutch)