The Embarrassment of Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age

The Embarrassment of Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age


By (author) Simon Schama

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  • Publisher: HarperPerennial
  • Format: Paperback | 720 pages
  • Dimensions: 170mm x 234mm x 40mm | 1,460g
  • Publication date: 19 April 2004
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0006861369
  • ISBN 13: 9780006861362
  • Edition: New edition
  • Edition statement: New edition
  • Sales rank: 450,996

Product description

This is the book that made Simon Schama's reputation when first published in 1987. A historical masterpiece, it is an epic account of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age of Rembrandt and van Diemen. In this brilliant work that moves far beyond the conventions of social or cultural history, Simon Schama investigates the astonishing case of a people's self-invention. He shows how, in the 17th-century, a modest assortment of farming, fishing and shipping communities, without a shared language, religion or government, transformed themselves into a formidable world empire -- the Dutch republic.

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Author information

Simon Schama is University Professor of Art History and History at Columbia University. He is the author of 'Patriots and Liberators', which won the Wolfson Prize for History, 'The Embarrassment of Riches', 'Citizens' which won the 1990 NCR book award for non-fiction, 'Dead Certainties', 'Landscape and Memory' which won the W H Smith Literary Award in 1995, and 'Rembrandt's Eyes' (1999). He is also the author of the monumental 'History of Britain' published in three volumes. He was art critic of the 'New Yorker' from 1995 to 1998 and was made CBE in the 2001 New Year's Honours list.

Review quote

'Simon Schama writes with grace and wit, and his enthusiasms are contagious.' Anita Brookner 'Schama is one of the few historians writing today who can recreate the mentalite of another culture.' Jonathan Miller 'One reads it all with mounting enjoyment and at the end one's sense of Dutch civilisation in the Golden Age of Rembrandt and van Diemen is not just salted and enriched -- but remade.' Robert Hughes 'This is history on the grand scale, and like all generously conceived historical works leaves us reflecting about the present as well as the past.' John Gross, New York Times 'Seldom has a people opened its doors so wide. A performance on the epic scale.' Independent

Editorial reviews

This extraordinary book, first published in 1987, has already become accepted as a classic of historical writing. It examines the progress of a loosely connected group of farming, fishing and shipping communities, living in a flat and watery landscape, without a common language or religion or even a shared government, into that dynamic power, the Dutch Republic. By the examination of all manner of materials from cookery books and scrubbing brushes to Jan Steen's Tavern Scene and Nicholas Maes's Maid Peeling Parsnips, Schama succeeds in reconstructing the collective personality of the Dutch in the 17th century. (Kirkus UK)