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Adriaen Koerbagh: A Life

Posted on by BPH

This Thursday will see the launch of the first full biography of one of the greatest exponents of what Jonathan Israel has called the Radical Enlightenment, Adriaen Koerbagh (1632-1669), in the pleasant surroundings of Amsterdam’s Special Collections on Oude Turfmarkt.

Published by Vantilt in Nijmegen, Adriaen Koerbagh: Het noodlot van een ketter (‘Adriaen Koerbagh: A heretic’s fate’) is the first full-fledged biography of this great enlightener of the people. K.O. Meinsma had devoted a lengthy chapter on Adriaen and his slightly younger brother Johannes in his seminal ‘Spinoza en zijn kring’ (first published 1896), but it is Bart Leeuwenburgh, 17th-century expert and acclaimed author of Darwin in Domineesland, who has now produced not only a biography of Koerbagh but also a lively introduction into the political, religious and social conditions of the Dutch Republic in the second half of the seventeenth century.

Title-page of Bloemhof with Koerbagh’s name.

The Ritman Library owns a copy of Adriaen Koerbagh’s Een bloemhof van allerley lieflijkheyd sonder verdriet (1668), the work that sealed Koerbagh’s fate as a heretic.

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