chapter
H
Pages 48

In the final line of her twelfth vision, the thirteenth-century Brabant mystic Hadewijch writes: “By that abyss I saw myself swallowed. And there I received certainty about my being received, in this form, in my beloved, and my beloved also in me.” The line not only provides a glimpse into the ecstatic experience of the author, but also suggests the aesthetic sense which imbues all of Hadewijch’s writings. Indeed, her letters, visions, and poems have recently been praised as eminent in the literature of the minnemystiek (love mystic) tradition for their description of an unmediated experience of the divine, which is perfected in minne, or love, and not in ecclesiastical worship. During her lifetime as a Beguine, however, Hadewijch was forced into exile and her literary reputation into obscurity.