A.Th. van Deursen
Plain lives in a Golden Age
Popular culture, religion and society in seventeenth-century Holland
One of the leading Dutch historians of the seventeenth century, Arie van Deursen describes how the common people of the Netherlands lived between 1572 and 1648, a period that includes Holland’s Golden Age. He explores what ordinary folk did for a living, how they spent their leisure time, and their relationships with their government, their God and their church.
Van Deursen discusses the prevailing concepts of political liberty and exposes one mythic aspect of the much-vaunted Dutch religious freedom by revealing persecution of Catholics. He shows how the choice of the ‘wrong’ denomination could adversely affect a person’s social standing and career. The author also undertakes the difficult task of reconstructing the role of women in society.
Meticulously researched and well written, ranging across a broad spectrum of everyday concerns such as living conditions, sex, marriage, leisure, religion and popular culture, this is the most comprehensive study yet published of plain lives of a ‘golden age’.