Hadewijch  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Hadewijch was a 13th century poet and mystic, probably living in the Duchy of Brabant.

Most of her extant writings, none of which survived the Middle Ages as an autograph, are in a Brabantian form of Middle Dutch. She is associated with Antwerp (often she is referred to as Hadewych of Antwerp) but this is only based on a later addition to one of the manuscript copies of her works, that was produced several centuries after her death. Most of the other manuscripts containing her work were found near Brussels.

Her writings include visions, prose letters and poetry. There are two types of poems: her lyrical poetry followed the forms and conventions used by the trouvères and minnesingers of her time, but with the theme of worldly courtship replaced by sublimated love to God. The other series of poems are simpler didactical poems in letter format, on Christian topics, not all of them considered authentic.

No details of her life are known outside the sparse indications in her own writings. These let suspect she was involved in the then emerging beguine movement. That she would have been a nun can be excluded, as her writings (primarily her prose letters) show that she travelled and lived in several places, and as in general her writings lack references to life in a convent. She must have come from a wealthy family: she had a wide knowledge of literature and theological treatises in several languages, including Latin and French, in a time when studying was a luxury only exceptionally granted to women.

She is considered to be a precursor to the mystic and theologian Jan van Ruusbroec, who developed many of her ideas, but in a more theologic-systematic way.

The poetry of the mystic Hadewych would play an important role in the essays, plays and novels of Belgian writer Suzanne Lilar.



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Hadewijch" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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