Discovering Europe through Early Modern Literature

About the Project

This project offers a modest contribution to exploring the question: ‘what does Europe mean?’ The focus is on the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, a period that witnessed the Reformation, which tore apart the fabric of European society, but also saw the emergence of an incipient secular understanding of Europe as a diverse community. This is apparent from the project’s main sources: the popular stories of the era. Moreover, many of these works, including Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso, Cervantes’ Don Quixote and More’s Utopia, were circulated and consumed in different ways across the entire continent. As such, this project hypothesizes, they did not only reflect but also shape the idea of Europe as a shared cultural community.