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PhD Defence Thijs Hagendijk: Reworking Recipes. Reading and Writing Practical Texts in the Early Modern Arts

Instructie bij het schrijven van de Nederlandse letteren (vijfde vervolg) en een schrijfvoorbeeld, Simon Frisius, naar Jan van de Velde (I), 1608. © Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

For centuries, knowledge about arts and crafts has been passed on from generation to generation. But what role do instructive texts play in that process? On 29 June, Ph.D. Thijs Hagendijk  MSc will defend his dissertation on this subject, entitled Reworking Recipes. Reading and Writing Practical Texts in the Early Modern Arts.

Practical knowledge in writing

In his research, Hagendijk looks at the use of instructive texts in the arts and crafts between 1500 and 1750. Although practical knowledge has been written down since antiquity, interest in this type of text increased rapidly from the fifteenth century onwards. Craftsmen and artists started to write more and more and their texts became increasingly popular. People also became more aware of the limitations of written communication of practical knowledge.

Text and practice

In order to understand how writers and readers dealt with these problems, Hagendijk investigates how texts and practices were entangled. To this end, he not only conducts traditional historical research but also puts the historical instructions into practice. This way he can understand which writing strategies authors used and how readers used practical texts. Hagendijk’s research shows that seventeenth-century writers searched for innovative text forms in order to properly describe the complexity of creative practices. It also shows what basic knowledge and tools readers needed to carry out written instructions.

Due to COVID-19, this defense will take place online via Livestream.

PhD Supervisor: Prof. S. G. M. Dupré
Co-Supervisor: Dr. M. J. N. Stols-Witlox