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‘L’anglois a autant de civilité que le hollandois’. Jean Le Clerc, Pieter Burman and the strategic use of stereotypes in the Republic of Letters

Author(s): Floris Verhaart

Journal: De Zeventiende Eeuw : Cultuur in de Nederlanden in Interdisciplinair Perspectief
ISSN 0921-142X

Volume: 29;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 64;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: Jean Le Clerc (1657-1736) | Pieter Burman (1668-1741) | classical scholarship | stereotypes | Pierre Bourdieu (1930-2002) | theory of practice

Despite a proclaimed internationalism and open-mindedness, prejudices concerning e.g. religion and national background were common in the early modern Republic of Letters. In fact, stereotypes were often used in debates to undermine the position of one’s opponent. In this article, I will look at a polemic between Jean Le Clerc (1657-1736) and Pieter Burman (1668-1741) about the position of classical scholarship and education at the turn of the eighteenth century. I will employ Bourdieu’s theory of practice to demonstrate how the stereotypes these two scholars use served both to blacken each other and to define themselves and the subject of the debate.
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