History of Holland > Dutch writers and scientists > Pieter Corneliszoon Hooft

Pieter Corneliszoon Hooft

Pieter Corneliszoon HooftPieter Corneliszoon Hooft, often abbreviated to P.C. Hooft, was born on March 16, 1581, in Amsterdam as the son of the then mayor, Cornelis Hooft. Hooft became a tragic and lyric poet as well as a historian, greatly developed and perfected the language, and by a careful study of the Italian poets imparted to his native tongue that sonorous sweetness which has since characterized the poetry of Holland.

He was the creator of native tragedy, as well as of erotic verse, in which his style is marked by great sweetness, tenderness, and grace. He rendered still greater service to the native prose. His histories of "Henry IV," of the "House of Medici," and above all the history of the "War of Independence in the Low Countries," without sacrificing truth, often border on poetry, in their brilliant descriptions and paintings of character, and in their nervous and energetic style. Hooft was a man of noble heart; he dared to protect Grotius in the days of his persecution; he defended Descartes and offered an asylum to Galileo.

Hooft founded the Muiderkring, a literary society located at his home, the Muiderslot, the castle of Muiden in which he got to live due to his appointment as sheriff of Muiden. Among the members were the poets and playwrights G.A. Bredero and Joost van den Vondel.

On May 21, 1647, he died at the age of 66 in The Hague.