Els Stronks - on Solving Cold Cases, Experiencing a Revolution? The Computational Attribution of the Dutch National Anthem and current Developments in the Humanities
"The Wilhelmus has been the official national anthem of the Kingdom of the Netherlands since 1932. The song carries a wider relevance that extends well beyond the Low Countries. According to the authoritative Guinness Book of Records, the Wilhelmus is the national anthem with the oldest music in the world: we are able to date the tune and text to the years 1568-1572 during the Dutch Revolt, a key episode in the history of the Early Low Countries. Moreover, in the song’s fifteen couplets, an anonymous poet has immortalized a dramatic internal monologue of William the Silent, Prince of Orange (1533 – 1584), a well-known figure who has played a decisive role in the political history of Europe.
Ever since its creation in the late sixteenth century, the attribution of the song has not ceased to puzzle scholars as well as other inhabitants of the Low Countries. With computational analysis, we were able to produce a possible breakthrough: our analyses point at an obscure, vilified author who has never even been mentioned as a candidate author."
In this lecture Els Stronks will use this case study to underline the impact of computational tools and data sets for the humanities. Can cold cases be solved, and are we in the midst of a revolution?
Prof. dr. Els Stronks is Professor of Early Modern Dutch Literature in the Department of Languages, Literature and Communication of the Utrecht University. Her teaching and research focuses on multimedia literature from the Dutch Golden Age (words, images, music), the international embedding of the literature and the digital developments in the art (digital research platforms to educational web sites). She is a board member of the International Association for Dutch Studies and CLARIN-NL and a member of the Advisory Committee on History and Literature of the Prince Bernhard Culture Fund. In 2014-2015 she was a fellow at the Koninklijke Library / NIAS.