De fatsoenering van het bestaan

On monday the 8th Harm Nijboer received a wel-deserved Ph.D. for his thesis De fatsoenering van het bestaan, Consumptie in Leeuwarden tijdens de Gouden Eeuw. It’s a very conscise and precise work, just over 120 pages (in Dutch), packed with knowledge. The core is a statistical analysis of probate inventories from the municipal archive of the Frisian city Leeuwarden. From that analysis he formulates critiques, hypotheses and some conclusions about the fashioning process in early modern times.

I read the whole thing on wednesday. Not knowing much about statistics, I cannot assess that part of the thesis, but apparently his methodology is quite radical and new. The chapters about consumption and the historiography of early modern consumption culture, and the chapter in which he theorizes the fashioning process are so thorough (and well written – there’s fun in there too and lots of Shakespeare!) that in the future I will certainly grab this book when I need info on this.

That said, it is a book with many links to interests of mine – like the culture of early modernity and Sentimentality, the time in which new forms of writing were emerging (for instance in The Spectator), and a new relation to publishing.

Plus, of course, the book has a theory which is relevant too for todays ‘bling-bling-culture’, and gives a good insight in the use of credit-papers in the seventeenth that is interesting in relation to todays ‘open money’ and barter-economies).

On a fun level: behind all this work lives the ghost of Lemmie, the bassplayer of Motorhead, Sentimentalism-pure.

Harm can be found here: http://home.planet.nl/~nijbo143/

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