Een gasthuis vol narren. Van traditionele naar moderne hellevaart in twee achttiende-eeuwse droomsatiren

Thomas Pierrart


This paper is centred around two Dutch infernal journeys written in the eighteenth century: Johannes Buma’s Reis door de Elizeesche Velden (Travel through the Elysian Fields, 1753) and Simon Van Leeuwen’s Den Hollandschen Droomer in het Ryk van Pluto (The Dutch Dreamer in Pluto’s Realm, 1729). More specifically, both texts are scrutinized in the light of the literary-historical evolution from traditional infernal journeys (such as the ones in Vergil’s Aeneis and Dante’s Inferno) to modern ones, as described by Vervaeck (2006) among others. By analysing the various dimensions of these two infernos, I will argue that they are not just historically, but also generically located on the transition between these two phases. With satirical exposure as a common thread, the tradition of the infernal journey is modernized in the process of profanation (hell becomes mundane) and infernalization (earth becomes hellish).

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