Hoogmoed komt voor de val | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
2004
Volume 138, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0040-7550
  • E-ISSN: 2212-0521

Abstract

Abstract

While it is well known that the lyrical poetry of the Middle Dutch mystical author Hadewijch (c. 1240) is rich in courtly and religious intertext, references to the allegorical textual tradition have long been overlooked. These references become apparent when the poems are read, not just poetically but also from a narratological perspective, with a special eye to point of view, characters and storyline. Such a combined analysis reveals the presence of several peripheral characters, amongst which personified virtues, playing their part in the mystical love story between the two protagonists, the human soul and divine love. This article offers a detailed analysis of the closing stanza of Song 9 which stages a parading rider unexpectedly being thrown off his horse. The analysis shows that this trope is inspired by the representation of (pride) in Prudentian allegory, and will, for the intended audience, have evoked an extra layer of meaning that remains implicit in the song. The article thus illustrates that a good understanding of the multiple-layered intertext of Hadewijch’s lyrical register provides a hermeneutical key of utmost importance, while also providing a deeper insight into the mystagogic functioning of the songs.

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