Pieter van Woensel, Remarks, made on a journey through Turkey
An English translation and commentary in 3 Parts by Laban Kaptein of Pieter van Woensel, Aanteekeningen, vol. I (1791): Remarks, made on a journey through Turkey, Natolia, the Crimea and Russia, in the years 1784–89.
Asch: privately published, 2015–2019. (Click to go to Order Form.)
Pieter van Woensel (Haarlem 1747 – The Hague 1808), a staunch critic of antisemitism, slavery and serfdom, was a well travelled physician with publications on the plague and whooping cough to his name, the first Medical Inspector-General of the Dutch Navy, a cartoonist and atheist writer. Several of his works were translated into Polish, Russian, French, English, Italian and German. Kaptein’s English translation of Pieter van Woensel’s travelogue on Turkey is accompanied by a comprehensive Commentary. The text is assessed in the context of all the drawings and writings by Van Woensel known to date, including Raadgeevingen (Seaman’s medical guide), assumed lost for almost two centuries, but now recovered by editor Kaptein.
Against the backdrop of intellectual developments in Europe, and the existing travel and specialist literature in Pieter’s time on Islam and Turkey, an analysis is offered of his use of sources, whether referenced, implied or unreferenced. Years of research in archives and primary sources in many languages spanning many centuries have resulted in numerous discoveries and a wealth of materials never treated before in Woenseliana.
Price for the Hardcover 3-volume set consisting of Part I, II and III: € 360
Part I. ISBN 978-90-816096-0-9 (Hardcover)
English translation of Pieter van Woensel, Aanteekeningen I (1791 Dutch edition)
– facsimile of original Dutch edition (→copy of Universiteitsbibliotheek Utrecht)
– digitised plain text of the Dutch original
Click for sample pages: Part I: Translation (PDF)
Part II. ISBN 978-90-816096-2-3 (Hardcover)
Commentary to Preface, Bundle One and Bundle Two.
Click for sample pages: Part II: Commentary (PDF)
Part III. ISBN 978-90-816096-5-4 (Hardcover)
Commentary to Bundle Three to Bundle Six, & Cumulative Index.
(Remember, these book are self-published, so please order through this website only. Thank you for your consideration.)
Contemporaries on Pieter van Woensel and Remarks.
‘I think him a miscreant and most dangerous customer (…) by his blasphemous conversation, and indiscreet conduct, he had incurred the contempt of everyone.’
—Dutch Ambassador to Turkey Van Dedem (1786)
‘Our author would have better consulted his own reputation as a writer, if he had left this subject untouched; for all that he says on it (…) betrays the most astonishing folly and the most contemptible impertinence.’
—Monthly Review 6 (1791)
‘What more shall we say about his present work? To blame it, we can not; to praise it, we dare not. (…) so we think it most advisable not to add another thing about it, but rather (…) state that we do not want to be understood as authorising or approving the content thereof, much less so as to be helping it under our protection and care to any more credit, prestige or reputation.’
—De Recensent 11 (1792)
‘(…) ought to deny him all contact with decent women.’
—Vaderlandsche Letteroefeningen (1803), review of Van Woensel, Seaman’s medical guide (“Raadgeevingen”)