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THE EMBARRASSMENT OF RICHES An Interpretation of...

THE EMBARRASSMENT OF RICHES An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age by Simon Schama (University of California Press: $15.95, illustrated)

This ambitious work of cultural history of The Netherlands in the 17th Century is, in the author’s words, a “compendia of manners and mores” describing the social beliefs and behavior of the Dutch “in the springtime of their nationality.”

Drawing from diaries, Calvinist sermons, government documents as well as from literature and the extraordinary Dutch art, Simon Schama depicts the life of artisans and trading merchants in a world “that was predominantly urban, surprisingly literate for its time; one that nourished a market hungry for prints, engraved histories, poems and polemics.” Part folklore, part antiquarian anthology, “The Embarrassment of Riches” is, as Schama intended, “a rich treasure house of arcane and intricate knowledge” and an insightful portrait of Dutch culture.


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