ROMEIN, Jan Marius

(1893–1962)
   Historian. After studying hu manities at the Universityof Leiden, where he met his wife and life long collaborator Annie Verschoor (1895–1978), Romein became an editor of the daily De Tribune [The Tribune] of the Communistische Partij Holland(CPH, CommunistParty of Holland). In 1925, he ob tained his doctoral degree with the thesis Dostojewski in de Wester sche kritiek [Dostoyevsky in the Eyes of Western Critics]. Before that, he had already published a Dutch translation of Romain Rol land’s Jean Christophe (10 vols., 1916–1917, with an introductory essay, 1918) and a translation of Franz Mehring’s biography of Karl Marx (1921). In 1927, he was expelled from the Communist Party, but he kept his Marxist views.
   Later, Romein specialized in history, writing on the history of Byzantium and the historiography of the Netherlands during the Middle Ages, but also on current political affairs. His most famous works include a history of the Low Countries and a series of short biographies of important Dutch. In 1939, Romein was appointed to a chair in history at the University of Amsterdam, in spite of strong opposition to his materialistic view of history. Afterward, he also wrote extensively on world history, especially on Asia and Indonesia (e.g., The Asian Century, 1962). Romein introduced the theory of his tory as a subject in the academic curriculum and published a book on biography (De biographie, 1948). He met with the disapproval of his Utrecht colleague Pieter Geyl because of his support for Arnold Toynbee’s “determinist” historical concepts. His Watershed of Two Eras: Europe in 1900 was posthumously published; it is an attempt at writing “integral” history of the transitional decades from the 19th to the 20th centuries.

Historical Dictionary of the Netherlands. . 2012.

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