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Database WomenWriters, the Reception of their Works

From here you access the database that constitutes the center of the research activities. This database WomenWriters has been created to allow, for pre-1900 Europe, the study of women’s writing in their reception context: the authors’ places, activities and recognition. Such a study was not possible given the evident lack of large-scale information about women's writing being received by contemporaries. Large scale and transcending of boundaries was considered a necessity because of women's frequent role as translators, and also because of women's reputations abroad not always being recognized in the home country.

Large scale of course implies: necessity of digital tools, "longue durée" and a large amount of patience and perseverance.... For the moment it is not yet possible to find here information about either the Spanish reception of 19th-century Russian women writers, or the influence of 17th-century French author Madame Deshoulières in the rest of Europe (to take some examples). Still this is what should become possible on the long run - and from these bilateral contacts the existence of larger "networks" is to be traced. In this "virtual collaboratory", data are to be stocked which will allow to study this kind of questions. In order to integrate information about men's or women's professional or private reading of works by female authors of different countries, collaboration of colleagues (researchers as well as students) is of course needed. It is presently being prepared, and applications for financing of projects are and will be submitted.

For the moment the database contains mainly information on women authors' reception in the Netherlands. Indeed, after a starting period (2001-2004), where the focus had been on French 18th-century authors and on 19th-century George Sand with their reception in France and in the Netherlands, a digitizing project was financed by NWO (the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research). From 2004 up to 2007, focus has been on the Dutch reception of women writing and publishing, anywhere in Europe or its colonies, before 1900. A certain number of (types of) Dutch sources had been previously selected: it is of course impossible to be "complete", and selection was in part for practical reasons. From now on research about Dutch reading of women's work will go on, and will certainly also result in further perusing of sources left aside up to now. So, what is offered here, is a starting point for research. Note that the sources and relevant texts or text fragments have not been digitized themselves: references to these texts/data are provided in the records, as well as hyperlinks in the case of source material that had already been digitized by others.

The 13,000 references to Dutch sources also constitute invitations to others, who might take tem as examples for treatment of women's reception elsewhere. Colleagues are invited to take contact in order to discuss the possibility of collaboration.

One practical point: informations contained in the database WomenWriters have been derived from contemporary sources, which may contain errors. You will always have to get back to the sources themselves! It will also be important to see the complete records. When arriving for the first time in the database WomenWriters, your status is: "not logged on". This means that you have only partial view. For complete view of the records and participation in the project, take contact: Suzan van Dijk.

SvD, January 2008

  • Database WomenWriters

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