By K. Boterbloem
Dutch Sailmaker and sailor Jan Struys' (c.1629-c.1694) account of his quite a few abroad travels grew to become a bestseller after its first booklet in Amsterdam in 1676, and was once later translated into English, French, German and Russian. This new publication depicts the tale of its author's existence in addition to the 1st singular research of the Struys textual content.
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Extra resources for The Fiction & Reality of Jan Struys: A Seventeenth-Century Dutch Globetrotter
While Witsen took down notes during his conversation with van Sweeden, these were never published in his lifetime, and even both printed editions of Witsen’s work on Siberia (for which he used some of these notes) were only made available to a handful of people after 1692. Van Sweeden may have urged upon Witsen not to divulge this information, jealously guarding the rich promise of the trans-Caspian trade on behalf of the tsar (and probably himself). Even if these plans had not yet hatched in van Sweeden’s mind, the Dutch expatriate business community in Muscovy mirrored VOC practice in keeping most of its operations under wraps (indeed, some of them were concomitantly among the VOC’s directors).
85 Thus in judging the world, the Dutch served as the golden standard as welldressed, sexually prudish, monogamous, and frugal Christians. Others, particularly non-Western-Europeans, were their alter egos (or evil twins), and in varying degrees defective, from improvident, poorly dressed, sexually orgiastic and promiscuous, to non-Christian. 86 38 The Fiction and Reality of Jan Struys And yet this view of humanity is occasionally challenged in Reysen. 89 As a result of the Dutch Reformation, Latin had lost its hallowed tradition; monarchs no longer ruled the country; and history and cosmology had become separate in the Dutch discourse about the past.
Friendship ties played sometimes an equally important role. The famous Scottish mercenary ofﬁcer in Russian service Patrick Gordon (d. 1699), a key advisor to Peter the Great in the 1680s and 1690s, was both friend of Jan van Sweeden, the Dutch initiator of the Oryol project, and related 44 The Fiction and Reality of Jan Struys by marriage to Cornelis van Bockhoven (d. 12 All three played an important role in Muscovy in the second half of the seventeenth century. Strong ties of amity and kinship among the Dutch merchants may have substituted for organization in a monopoly company.