J.Th. (Joep) Leerssen

One of my main areas of research is that of imagology, the critical analysis, theory and history of national and cross-cultural stereotypes. I came to imagology in the 1970s as a student at Hugo Dyserinck's department of Comparative Literature at the university of Aachen - one of the few high-profile places at the time where this specialism was being pursued. Imagology is now once again a thriving area of research. I maintain a website giving explanations and research tools, which you can reach by clicking this link. Some key publications follow below.


2011 Spiegelpaleis Europa: Europese cultuur als mythe en beeldvorming (Nijmegen: Vantilt); 2nd ed. 2011. Longlisted for the Socrates Wisselbeker 2012 and shortlisted for the Jan Hanlo Essayprijs 2013.

edited collections

1991 (with Raymond Corbey) Alterity, Identity, Image. Selves and Others in Society and Scholarship, (Amsterdam: Rodopi), 269 pp.

1994 (with Menno Spiering) German Reflections (Amsterdam: Rodopi), vii + 245 pp (Yearbook of European Studies, 7)

2007 (with Manfred Beller) Imagology: The Cultural Construction and Literary Representation of National Characters - A Critical Survey (Amsterdam: Rodopi), xvi + 476 pp (Studia imagologica, 13)

2009 (with A.J. Hoenselaars) The rhetoric of national character. Theme issue of the European journal of English studies, 13.3.

editor (with Hugo Dyserinck) of the series Studia Imagologica (Amsterdam: Rodopi)


Interactive, searchable bibliography on the Images website


1987 "Montesquieu's Corresponding Images: Cultural and Sexual Alterity in Pseudo-Oriental Letters", Comparative Criticism, 9: 135-54.

1988 "«The Cracked Lookingglass of a Servant»: Cultural Decolonization and National Consciousness in Ireland and Africa", in Europa und das nationale Selbstverständnis, ed. H. Dyserinck & K.U. Syndram (Bonn: Bouvier), pp. 103-118.

1990 "Outward Bound: The Locale and Ontology of Cultural Stereotype in the Case of Celtic Exoticism", in Proceedings of the XIIth Congress of the ICLA, München 1988 (5 vols.; München: Iudicium), IV: 212-216.

1990 "On the Treatment of Irishness in Romantic Anglo-Irish Fiction", Irish University Review, 20, #2: 251-263.

1990 "Verbeelding en Wereldbeeld: Over exotische avonturenverhalen en Europese cultuurnormen", Forum der Letteren, 31: 161-174.

1992 "Image and Reality – and Belgium", in Europa Provincia Mundi, ed. J.Th. Leerssen & K.U. Syndram (Amsterdam: Rodopi), 281-291.

1992 "Identity and Self-Image: German Auto-Exoticism as Escape from History", in Komparatistik und Europaforschung. Perspektiven vergleichender Literatur- und Kulturwissenschaft, ed. H. Dyserinck & K.U. Sydram (Bonn/Berlin: Bouvier), 117-136.

1994 "As Others See, among Others, Us: The Anglo-German relationship in context", in As Others See Us. Anglo-German perceptions, ed. H. Husemann (Frankfurt /Main etc: Peter Lang), 69-79; again in Anglo-German Attitudes, ed. C. Cullingford & H. Husemann (Aldershot: Avebury, 1995): 209-221.

1995 "Een omzwerving rond Monte-Cristo. Mediterrane beeldvorming van Byron tot Bogart en Braudel", in Schurken en schelmen. Cultuurhistorische verkenningen rond de Middellandse Zee, ed. A.M. van Erp Taalman Kip & I.F. de Jong (Amsterdam University Press), 9-24.

1997 "The allochronic periphery: Towards a grammar of cross-cultural representation", in Beyond “Pug's Tour”. National and ethnic stereotyping in theory and literary practice, ed. C.C. Barfoot (Amsterdam: Rodopi), 285-294.

1997 "L'effet de typique", in Moeurs et images. Etudes d'imagologie européenne, ed. A. Montandon (Clermont-Ferrand: Université Blaise Pascal, Centre de recherches sur les littératures modernes et contemporaines), 129-134.1997 (h) "National Stereotypes and Literature. Canonicity, Characterization, Irony", in L'immagine dell' altro e l'identità nazionale: Metodi di ricerca letteraria, ed. M. Beller (Fasano: Schena; suppl. to Il Confronto letterario, 24 [1996]): 49-60.

1998 "Volksaard en mensenkennis in de zeventiende eeuw: van bijgeloof naar kennissysteem", in Vreemd volk. Beeldvorming over buitenlanders in de vroegmoderne tijd, ed. H. Hendrix & T. Hoenselaars (Amsterdam University Press), 121-136.

1998 "Mythe, magie en mystificatie: Keltofilie tussen romantiek en «new age»", in Kelten en de Nederlanden van prehistorie tot heden, ed. Lauran Toorians (Leuven: Peeters), 223-238.

1999 "Tussen huiselijkheid en kosmopolitisme. De Nederlandse identiteit in Wolff en Dekens Sara Burgerhart", in «Typisch Nederlands». De Nederlandse identiteit in de letterkunde, ed. K. Enenkel, S. Onderdelinden & P.J. Smith (Voorthuizen: Florivallis, 1999), 113-122.

1999 "Caractères des nations et imagologie", XVIIe siècle, 51 #1: 119-123.

2000 "The rhetoric of national character: A programmatic survey", Poetics today, 21 #2: 265-290.

2003 "Between skin and horizon", in Cross-cultural travel. Papers from the Royal Irish Academy symposium on literature and travel, ed. J. Conroy (New York: Lang): 1-10.

2004 "Sublime landscape and national character", Beziehungen und Identitäten: Österreich, Irland und die Schweiz, ed. G. Holfter, M. Krajenbrink & E. Moxton-Browne (Frankfurt: Lang, 2004), 25-36.

2006 "Englishness, ethnicity and Matthew Arnold", European Journal of English Studies, 10: 63-79.

2007 Various articles and entries in the Imagology volume (see "Edited Collections", above).

2008 "Making Shakespeare national", in Shakespeare and European politics, ed. D. Delabastita et al. (Newark: University of Delaware Press).

2010 (with John Neubauer et al.) "The rural outlaws of East-Central Europe", in History of the literary cultures of East-Central Europe, ed. M. Cornis-Pope and J. Neubauer (Amsterdam: Benjamins), 4: 407-40.

2010 "Novels and their readers, memories and their social frameworks", in Performing the past: Memory, history, and identity in modern Europe, ed. K. Tilmans et al. (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press), 235-56.

2011 "Postmoderne belgitude, meta-images, en de actualiteit van de imagologie", in Literaire belgitude littéraire: Bruggen en beelden / Vues du Nord. Hommage aan Sonja Verlinden, ed. S. Vanasten and M. Sergier (Louvain-la-Neuve: Presses universitaires de Louvain), 153-64.

2012 "The bard's garb: Ossian's dress sense", inOssian and National Epic - Studies in Cultural Science, ed. G. Bär & H. Gaskill (Frankfurt: Peter Lang), 277-289.

2012 "Ethnotypen sind Akteure: Zur Poetik und Rhetorik des Vorurteils", in Wir und die Anderen: Stereotypen in der Schweiz / Nous et les autres: Stéréotypes en Suisse, ed. B. Engler (Fribourg: Academic Press / Schweizerische Akademie der Geistes- und Sozialwissenschaften), 5-20.