"O Thou Great God of Trade, O Subject of my Song!" Dutch Poems on Trade, 1770-1830

Gert-Jan Johannes, Inger Leemans

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Abstract

Between 1770 and 1830, the Dutch urgently sought to remedy the decline of their economy. Not only learned societies supplied suggestions, but also poets. Around 15 remarkably sizable poems were published that sang the praises of trade and its history. In these poems, trade was put forward as a central economic force and the wellspring of prosperity, happiness, equality, and the global commonwealth. In reaction to the ongoing decline of commerce, the poems elevated trade to the level of God or Nature, presenting trade as the primum movens of human civilization, uncontrollable by human agency.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-356
Number of pages20
JournalEighteenth Century Studies
Volume51
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018

Keywords

  • Economic History
  • Trade discourses
  • Poetry
  • Cultural History
  • Commerce
  • Capitalism

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