A Companion to Mysticism and Devotion in Northern Germany in the Late Middle Ages


The volume explores the hitherto uncharted late medieval religious landscape of Northern Germany, from 13th-century Helfta to the 15th-century Lüneburg convents. The mystical and devotional writing of Northern Germany is contextualised through chapters on the Netherlands, Scandinavia and East Prussia. The seminal influence of the liturgy on these texts and their transmission is revealed in the creative interplay of Latin and Low German. Through the individual chapters and their appendices, which also contain translations into English, the reader can access a wealth of texts produced by communities of religious and lay women who write learnedly in Latin and fervently in Low German. Together, the chapters and appendices reveal a fascinating regional "mystical culture" which also reverberated across Northern Europe.

Contributors include: Jürgen Bärsch, Anne Bollmann, Veerle Fraeters, Ulrike Hascher-Burger, Ernst Hellgardt, Tanja Mattern, Balazs Nemes, Sara S. Poor, Eva Schlotheuber, Almut Suerbaum, and Geert Warnar.

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Elizabeth Andersen (School of Modern Languages, Newcastle University)
Dr Andersen's research specialism is German medieval literature, in particular mystical and visionary writing. Other interests are the intertextuality and the articulation of voices and identity in women's writing. She has published widely on Mechthild of Magdeburg; the focus of her current research is the circulation of Latin and Low German devotional texts throughout the Hanseatic region.

Henrike Lähnemann (Professor of German Studies, Newcastle University)
Prof. Lähnemann's research specialism is medieval and Early Modern German literature, especially manuscript transmission and visual culture. Other interests include comparative medieval literature and visual culture. Currently, she is working on a database of the manuscripts from the convent of Medingen and preparing several text editions which include material from Medingen.

Anne Simon (Institute for Germanic and Romance Studies, University of London)
Dr Simon’s main research interests lie in the literature, art and culture of the Middle Ages and Early Modern period; and the impact of these periods on subsequent eras, up to and including the present. She is currently working on two projects: an edition of the letters of the sixteenth-century nun Katerina Lemmel; and a study of Nuremberg’s construction of a 'brand image' during the Middle Ages and its subsequent eras.
List of Contributors
List of Maps
List of Illustrations
List of Textual Appendices to the Chapters

1 Introduction: Mysticism and Devotion in Northern Germany
Elizabeth Andersen, Henrike Lähnemann and Anne Simon

2 Liturgy and Reform: Northern German Convents in the Late Middle Ages
Jürgen Bärsch

Part One

Beginnings and Formations—Mystical Culture and the Helfta Circle

3 Hadewijch of Brabant and the Beguine Movement
Veerle Fraeters

4 Transmission and Impact: Mechthild of Magdeburg’s Das fließende Licht der Gottheit
Sara S. Poor

5 Text Production and Authorship: Gertrude of Helfta’s Legatus divinae pietatis
Balázs J. Nemes

6 Latin and the Vernacular: Mechthild of Magdeburg— Mechthild of Hackeborn—Gertrude of Helfta
Ernst Hellgardt

Part Two

Transmission, Transformation and Exchange—Devotional Culture and the Lüneburg Convents

7 Prelude: Northern Circulation of Fourteenth-Century Mystical Texts
Geert Warnar

8 An Urban Housewife as a Saint for Prussia: Dorothea of Montau and Johannes Marienwerder
Almut Suerbaum

9 Birgitta of Sweden in Northern Germany: Translation, Transmission and Reception
Elizabeth Andersen

10 The Influence of the Devotio Moderna in Northern Germany
Anne Bollmann

11 Religious Song and Devotional Culture in Northern Germany
Ulrike Hascher-Burger

12 Liturgy and Performance in Northern Germany: Two Easter Plays from Wienhausen
Tanja Mattern

13 Bilingual Devotion in Northern Germany: Prayer Books from the Lüneburg Convents
Henrike Lähnemann

14 Intellectual Horizons: Letters from a Northern German Convent
Eva Schlotheuber

All those interested in religious studies, medieval history, textual transmission, Latin and Low German in the Middle Ages, mysticism, devotional writing, gender studies as well as linguists, literary scholars and music historians.
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