Thor Rydin, "The Works and Times of Johan Huizinga (1872-1945): Writing History in the Age of Collapse" (Amsterdam UP, 2023)


Thor Rydin joins to talk about his new book, The Works and Times of Johan Huizinga (1872- 1945): Writing History in the Age of Collapse (Amsterdam UP, 2023). This book offers a new perspective on the Dutch cultural historian Johan Huizinga (1872-1945), who remains one of the most famous European historians of the twentieth century. Huizinga's lifetime was marked by dramatic transformations of Europe's cultural, religious, geographical and political landscapes: war, modern commercialism, industrialization, industrial urban planning, nationalism and fascism had shattered the truisms, moral codes and expectations with which Huizinga and his generation of well-to-do Europeans grew up. This book examines how these 'experiences of loss' affected and informed Huizinga's works. By centring such experiences rather than matters of character or social roles, the book offers an original image of an iconic historian but also considers him as a window into his times. Most centrally, this book contends that Huizinga's historical works helped to accommodate and give meaning to his own experiences of loss and rupture, thus offering him a way of life in turbulent times.

This book is available open access here

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Jana Byars

Jana Byars is an independent scholar located in Amsterdam.

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