Many Dutch autobiographers from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries wanted to leave home as early as possible to explore the world. The life story of Adriaen Doedesz Medenblick is one such example. He was born in 1510 in Alkmaar and, from his fourth year on, was left in the care of his uncle who, he writes, ‘brought me up gently’. When he was seven, soldiers of the Duke of Guelders invaded the city. His parents fled and left him with his uncle’s maid who, again, ‘treated me very well’. She left him in a monastery outside the city, where a monk hid him in his cell. When the soldiers searched the monastery, the monk saved the boy from their hands by ‘smooth talking’. There is not the slightest hint of bad feeling expressed towards his parents who had left the small boy in a dangerous situation. Later, after a stay in a boarding school and unsuccesful studies at the University of Leuven, he travelled through France. Then he enlisted as a soldier and took part in the siege of Münster, which was occupied by Anabaptists. He also fought in Morocco in the service of Spain. Eventually he returned to his native city, Alkmaar, where he spent the rest of his life as a respected citizen.
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.