Following a short interview, in which he explained how he became a dedicated bookhistorian, and talked about his interest in the printing press as a means of influencing politics, Anglo-Dutch relations in the 17th and 18th centuries as well as his fascination with English and Dutch travel reports, Professor emeritus Paul Hoftijzer gave a fascinating introduction to the recently published Skinner In Noordwijk, of which he is one of the co-authors, while the mesmerized audience listened breathlessly. Skinner in Noordwijk is an annotated translation of the diary of John Skinner, an English boy attending Joseph de Veer’s boarding school in Noordwijk from 1788 – 1789. Hoftijzer talked at length on the historical importance of the diary, and how John Skinner tried out his literary pen on describing the school, the teachers, play and games, and excursions in Noordwijk and the surrounding villages and towns.
In reply to a question from the audience on the value of Skinner’s diary to the 21st c. reader, Hoftijzer said: the value of this book, as the value of every book, lies in the interest of the reader. If you’re interested in the way in which a 16-year old boy viewed the world in the 18th c, this is a very good and accessible book!
Concluding with a number of quotes from the book, a lively discussion ensued. For those interested, the opportunity was offered to order the book. Prof. Hoftijzer will sign the copies ordered at a later date.