De zaak Valentyn. Plagiaat en wetenschappelijk decorum aan het begin van de achttiende eeuw

Siegfried Huigen


François Valentyn (1666-1727) is the author of Oud en Nieuw Oost-Indiën, which is the most comprehensive book about Asia published in the eighteenth century. Modern criticism of his work to a large degree revolves around accusations of plagiarism of naturalist Georg Rumphius, without taking account of early eighteenth-century notions of plagiarism and systems of referencing. This article tries to read the shortcomings (from our perspective) of Valentyn's system of referencing against the backdrop of shifting ideas about scholarly behaviour and referencing within the Republic of Letters around 1700. The argument of the paper focusses both on Valentyn's use of Rumphius and his defence against potential accusations of plagiarism in the case of his assertions about the possible location of biblical Ophir in the book of Kings. It is concluded that Valentyn found himself in an ambiguous discursive position. Although he was acquainted with the stricter guidelines for scholarly referencing in the Republic of Letters, in which he held at most an outsider's position, at the same time he remained caught in a historiographical discourse which discouraged explicit attribution and, in the case of travel writing, even allowed large scale plagiarism.

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© Tijdschrift voor Nederlandse Taal- en Letterkunde | ISSN (print): 0040-7550 | eISSN (online): 2212-0521