Book Series Late Medieval and Early Modern Studies, vol. 14

Richard Rowlands Verstegan

A Versatile Man in an Age of Turmoil

Romana Zacchi, Massimiliano Morini (eds)

  • Pages: 203 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Illustrations:14 b/w
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2013

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-53575-3
  • Hardback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-54016-0
  • E-book
  • Available

Employing a blend of historical, philological, literary and linguistic methods, this book paints a full-bodied portrait of Richard Rowlands Verstegan (or Verstegen, 1550?-1640) – a man whose multiple and variously-spelled name reflects a multi-faceted public personality.


"This volume of essays is a welcome addition to existing scholarship on Richard Verstegen and offers a critical panorama of the various writings of this multitalented Anglo-Dutch Renaissance writer." (Jan Marten, Ivo Klaver and Roberta Mullini in: Linguæ & Rivista di lingue e culture moderne, 2/2013, p. 91-98)

"Il volume dedicato a Richard Verstegan, frutto di due anni di lavoro di un gruppo di studiosi dell’Università di Bologna, giunge opportuno a disegnare la figura incredibilmente poliedrica di questo intellettuale, restituito in un ritratto a tutto tondo che lo avvicina a tante grandi figure del Rinascimento, un profilo perfettamente riflesso nel sottotitolo, A Versatile Man in an Age of Turmoil, mai così ben scelto e che si adatta egregiamente al personaggio. (...) La versatilità di Verstegan ha trovato nel gruppo di studiosi bolognesi una corrispondente versatilità di interessi e di competenze, il che fa di questo volume un contributo decisamente apprezzabile che torna a tutto onore dell’accademia italiana. Pregio (...) meritevole di essere segnalato (...) è una gradevole combinazione di chiarezza e sobrietà, nell’argomentazione e nello stile." (Domenico Pezzini, in: Aevum, 87 (2013), fasc. 3, p. 1020)

"This important collection (...) exemplifies the value of international and collaborative work on an author who lived a long time (1550–1640) and worked internationally and, as such, has been inaccessible to many." (Donna B. Hamilton, in: Renaissance Quarterly, 68.1, 2015, p. 352-353)


Employing a blend of historical, philological, literary and linguistic methods, Richard Rowlands Verstegan: A Versatile Man in an Age of Turmoil paints a full-bodied portrait of Richard Rowlands Verstegan (or Verstegen, 1550?-1640) – a man whose multiple and variously spelled name reflects a multifaceted public personality. English by birth and upbringing, Dutch by fatherly descent, Verstegan spent most of his life on the Continent, employed intermittently as a Catholic spy, poet, religious translator, polemicist, and philologist. While this many-sidedness is typical of the Renaissance period, some of Verstegan’s interests and positions were innovative or extravagant – witness his familiarization of the epigram in the Netherlands (1617), or his description of Teutonic England in the Restitution of Decayed Intelligence (1605).

In this collection of essays, Verstegan’s life and works are both explored in themselves and as mirrors of his times. As each contributor investigates one or more aspects of Verstegan’s careers, a wider perspective is created of English and Dutch religious politics, of the prevailing literary modes and fashions of the period, and of the picture that Europe was beginning to paint for itself. Conversely, this all-encompassing view demonstrates the centrality of a figure who has long been relegated to the margins of English, Dutch, and European history.



Part One. Verstegan as Philologist

Teutonic and Unmixed: Verstegan’s English — MASSIMILIANO MORINI

Searching for the Origins: Teutonic Past and Contemporary England in Verstegan’s Thought — ALESSANDRO ZIRONI

Nederlantsche Antiquiteyten: Between Language and Religion — GIULIO GARUTI SIMONE

Part Two. Verstegan as a Social and Political Observer

Words and Images: Verstegan’s ‘Theatre of Cruelties’ — ROMANA ZACCHI

‘That kynde of man that is wombed’: Femininity and Heroic Virtue in the English Writings of Richard Verstegan — PAUL ARBLASTER

‘The Seven-Headed Beast’: Myth and Allegory in Richard Verstegan’s Polemic against the Northern Netherlands — HERMAN VAN DER HEIDE

Part Three. Verstegan as Poet and Storyteller

Richard Verstegan’s Penitential Odes — VALENTINA POGGI

‘What after nature liues, liues subject unto mee’: Richard Verstegan and Otto van Veen’s Emblems of Love (1608) — TINA MONTONE

Richard Rowlands Verstegan’s Pyed Pyper: Of Fantastical Cotes and Unkept Promises — SYLVIA NOTINI