The Multilingualism of Constantijn Huygens (1596-1687)

Christopher Joby

The Multilingualism of Constantijn Huygens (1596-1687)

Christopher Joby

Distributed for Amsterdam University Press

350 pages | 10 color plates, 7 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2014
Cloth $130.00 ISBN: 9789089647030 Published February 2015 For sale only in the United States, its dependencies, the Philippines, and Canada
Dutch, French, Latin, Greek, Italian, English, Spanish, and German: those are the eight languages that Dutch Golden Age poet Constantijn Huygens (1596–1687) used to write his poetry and correspondence. He also knew a bit of Hebrew and Portuguese. Examining a wide range of Huygens’s writings—including personal letters, state correspondence, and poetry—Christopher Joby explores how Huygens tested the boundaries of language with his virtuosity as a polyglot. From Huygens’s multilingual code switching to his writings on architecture, music, and natural science, this comprehensive account is a must-read for anyone interested in this Dutch statesman and man of letters.

List of Abbreviations



1. Multilingualism: An Introduction

2. Huygens’s Language Acquisition

3. The ‘Multidimensionality’ of Huygens’s Multilingualism

4. Huygens’s Multilingualism in Music, Science, and Architecture

5. Huygens and Translation

6. Code Switching in Huygens’s work

7. The Multilingualism of Huygens’s Children





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