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Politicized Philology? The scholarship of Old Norse philology through the lens of post-war correspondence (working title)

Jan de Vries (1890-1964) was  professor in 'Gothic, Anglo-Saxon, comparative grammar of Indo-Germanic  languages, Middle High German, and in general the old languages and  literature of Germanic peoples' at the University  of Leiden since 1926 and developed into a leading expert in Germanic  religion. He was arrested and interned twenty years later, and  ultimately convicted for 'intellectual collaboration' with the Nazis.  Stripped of his Chair, he remained persona non grata in  Dutch academia for the rest of his life. Towards his retirement in  1955, however, he returned to publishing internationally. He became  Honorary Life Member of the Viking Society for Northern Research (VSNR)  in 1959, and was invited to accept the O'Donnell  Lecturership at Oxford University for the academic year 1961-1962. In  my doctoral project, I study the surviving correspondence between De  Vries and his colleagues. Spanning over 800 letters to almost 150  recipients, this correspondence provides an important  source of information on networks of knowledge transfer, social and  institutional contexts, and personal thoughts and ambitions. Through its  analysis, I aim to understand the rehabilitation of De Vries in  international academia as well as the development of  the field of Old Norse philology in the turbulent decades after World  War II.

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