I’ll be leaving Nijmegen early in the morning to head back to London. The Alexander von Humboldt lecture seemed to be well received. It didn’t go quite as smoothly as I wanted but it was well attended and there were some good questions. I felt some the claims I made lacked the kind of terminological precision I wanted – this is always the risk of not having a script but rather an outline – and to me at least the Rousseau framing didn’t quite work. What did work, I think, was the Leibniz section, which was both a little more developed than the version in Erlangen and also related perfectly to the place I was giving the talk. This is because the texts of Leibniz I was focusing on were written in advance of the discussions for the peace of Nijmegen.
The local Museum Het Valkhof, which I visited the morning of the lecture, has some interesting exhibits from this peace. This is apparently only a very recent development at the museum. There are copies of the treaty between the French and the Spanish, some coins struck at the time, and a painting by Henri Gascard of the signing.
This is a similar style to the more famous Gerhard ter Borch painting of the Treaty of Muenster from 1648, which is in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
Today there were two discussion sessions on my work on territory, ranging from the historical and conceptual to the more immediately political. These were also well attended and seemed to go well.
The lecture – though not the discussions – was filmed and should be available online at some point.
The reading for this trip is also appropriate – Peter H. Wilson, Europe’s Tragedy: A New History of the Thirty Years War. This is newly out in paperback, and is a monumental study of almost 1,000 pages. So far it is very good.
[update: now I’m back, I’ve fixed the links]