Gerbrand Bredero Wants to Borrow a Painting. Proleptic Negotiation


  • Jeroen Jansen


Proleptic Negotiation, Bargaining, Proleptic Argumentation, Pragma- Dialectical Theory, Request, Bredero, Epistolary Theory, Politeness Theory, Argumentation Theory, Strategy, Promise


In a letter to Badens, his painting teacher, Gerbrand Bredero asks for the loan of a painting to make a copy of it. The act of writing (a letter) requires a proactive role in managing the reader’s reactions. In what at first sight may look like a simple, insignificant and most of all polite letter, it is argued that, from the viewpoint of argumentation theory, negotiation and bargaining tactics, this politeness may be considered as a carefully devised and potentially effective strategy, contributing to pinning Badens to a promise, and to remove any possible objections from the latter in fulfilling his promise. Whilst starting the letter from the relatively powerless situation of a pupil asking his master to act, by showing a mutual interest and by applying anticipated argumentation and negotiation, Bredero seeks a reasonable balance which he simultaneously turns to his own advantage.

Author Biography

Jeroen Jansen

Jeroen Jansen is Assistant Professor of Dutch Literature at the University of Amsterdam. He has published in the field of Dutch and European literature, rhetoric, literary criticism and style, especially concerning the Early Modern period. In 2011 he has published an edition of the complete prose by Gerbrand Bredero. His current research includes the phenomenon of strategy (strategic positioning, strategic acting, author’s strategies, etc.), on the basis of insights from classical rhetoric to modern argumentation theory, from classical ‘ethos’ to framing, negotiation tactics and strategic maneuvering. Jansen is leading the project ‘Pretextual Strategies. The Rhetoric of Ethos, Literary Authority and (Con)Textual Identity in Renaissance Preliminary Texts’.




How to Cite

Jansen, J. (2013). Gerbrand Bredero Wants to Borrow a Painting. Proleptic Negotiation. Journal of Dutch Literature, 4(1). Retrieved from