Sabine Waasdorp is a Ph.D candidate in the Vidi project 'Mixed feelings. Literary Hispanophilia and Hispanophobia in England and the Netherlands in the Early Modern period and the nineteenth century at the University of Amsterdam.' She is part of ARTES (Amsterdam School of Regional, Transnational and European Studies) in the department of European Studies. She has taught English seminars in the course European Literary History in the BA European Studies and has given guest-lectures at University Utrecht in the study Dutch Language and Culture. She has presented at several international conferences, such as the RSA, the SAA and Sederi and is co-founder and editor of the blog Over de Muur, a Dutch blog for historical innovation, history & current affairs.
Waasdorp's research is based on the theoretical frameworks of Imagology, Translation Studies and Cultural Transfer, focusing specifically at the relationship between Spain, the Netherlands and England in the sixteenth century. Her primary sources contain Dutch and English translations and imitations/pseudo-translations of Spanish works of the Golden Age as well as novels and plays in which Spaniards play a major role. Moreover, the self-image of England and the Netherlands are studied, as part of the creation of a national identity. She has studied the literary afterlife of the picaresque novel La Vida de Lazarillo de Tormes (1554) in England and the Netherlands and is currently researching the representation and perception of hispanized Englishmen and Dutchmen.
Next to research, Waasdorp is also an advocate for the valorisation of history, taking every opportunity to make academic research available to a wider audience in a creative way. She does so by writing and editing for Over de Muur, by giving public lectures and by making short videos about her research. She has experience in making exhibitions and giving tours at the Muiderslot and the York Castle Museum and acts in several theatre groups, such as Theatercollectief GARP, Theater Kwast and Toneelgenootschap Zout.
Current framings of the economic crisis are marked by negative prejudices, depicting the southern European states as corrupt. National characterizations can endure for centuries. In Early Modern Europe, the Spaniards were the most hated nation. Their reputation was tainted by a Black Legend of Spanish cruelty and lust for power. This anti-hispanism is considered central to the process of European proto-national identity formation. It shaped the cultural and political self-definition of both the Netherlands and England, two nations with overlapping histories regarding Spain. However, this hispanophobia did not exclude an undeniable fascination with Golden Age Spanish culture, most visible within the field of literature.
This project problematizes the European paradigm shift around 1800, when after centuries of predominant hispanophobia, a discourse of romantic hispanophilia materialized. The Duke of Alba and the Spanish Armada made way for Carmen and Don Juan. This project will demonstrate how the two narratives of literary hispanophobia and hispanophilia co-existed in the Early Modern period and re-emerged in the nineteenth century, when national identities and literary canons consolidated the Golden Age as the key period in the national-historical consciousness.
The research consists of three interrelated subprojects: PhD’s 1 and 2 will chart this literary ambivalence towards Spain for the Early Modern Period (1550-1700). How this ambivalence was adapted and negotiated in the nineteenth century will be explored in subproject 3 (project leader). This project breaks new ground in four ways: 1) It studies the dynamics of aversion/fascination for a dominant foreign culture across time; 2) it links these dynamics to narratives of nationhood using a comparative perspective; 3) it methodologically bridges the fields of Imagology, Translation Studies and Cultural Transfer; 4) It connects the process of proto-national constructions with the formation of modern nationalism by combining Early Modern research with research into the nineteenth century.
Although there existed older literary relations between these countries, the first project starts with the arrival of the young Philip II in the north, as heir to the realms of his father Charles V in the Low Countries and the new husband of Mary Tudor, queen of England. It stops at the end of the Twelve-Year Truce in 1621 and the breaking off of the Spanish Match in 1623, after which both England and the Dutch Republic re-entered a period of open warfare with Spain. PhD 1 will analyze how Spanish images are used and negotiated in different genres in an historical period which has always been deemed one of prevailing anti-hispanism. Playwrights of this prolific Elizabethan and Jacobean period (Marlowe, Jonson, Sir Philip Sidney) fought in the Low Countries. Anti-hispanic plays were staged by the chambers of rhetoricians in the Netherlands and appeared on London stages, including Kyd’s Spanish tragedy. At the same time William Shakespeare was inspired by Spanish contemporaries; think of the mystification around his long-lost play Cardenio, based on Cervantes. Dutch playwright Theodore Rodenburgh, who had lived in Spain and in England, introduced the Spanish comedia in the Netherlands. Though little research has been done on the flow and influence of Spanish translations in these countries, patterns seem to differ. In the Netherlands, translations of Spanish plays and novels are not abundant for this period, while in England translations begin to appear early in the period. Drama translation studies is a relatively new sub-discipline. Recent scholarship on English drama translation has overlooked the role of Spanish plays during the first half of the seventeenth century, while there are no in-depth studies of the Dutch scene and its relation to Spain.