Frank Willaert, born in Veurne, Belgium, in 1952. Ph.D. from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. Professor of Medieval Dutch Literature at the University of Antwerp.
VNC Fellow (1 September 1997 – 30 June 1998)
During my stay at NIAS I wrote the major part of a monograph on the history of the Dutch medieval love poetry from the end of the twelfth until the beginning of the fifteenth century. The definitive version should be ready by the end of June 1999.
The book consists of five parts, which deal respectively with the Limburg poet Hendrik van Veldeke (end 1100), the mystical poet Hadewijch (1230/1250), Duke John I of Brabant (died 1294), numerous poems (mostly anonymous) from the fourteenth century, and three important love-song collections from about 1400. Much attention is devoted to the social context in which these songs were created and sung. For Hendrik van Veldeke, the imperial court of the Staufen, where Minnesang seems to have flourished first; for Hadewijch, a group of beguines, who like her were engaged in a quest for God, and for whom her songs functioned as a kind of mystical ars amandi; for John of Brabant, the aristocratic circles of the Meuse and Rhine area, keen on unpretentious but elegant amusement. The latter region seems to have played a central role in the history of Dutch (and German) love poetry, receptive as it was both to French and High German lyrical traditions, combining these in a creative way. Especially in the later fourteenth century, the love poetry of this region seems to have exercised a profound influence on Dutch as well as High German love poetry