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Fellow (1 September 2000 - 30 June 2001)
My work at NIAS was almost completely concentrated on writing a book that portrays Jan van Ruusbroec (1293-1381), outstanding author of Middle Dutch texts on mystical theology, within the intellectual and cultural currents in fourteenth-century literature.
I arrived at NIAS with the intention of completing the book up to the stage of restyling and editing a pre-definitive version, I succeeded in doing so, albeit not in exactly the way I planned in advance. On reconsideration of the first outline of the book, that was basically chronological with a general introduction to the historical, intellectual and religious contexts, I wanted to establish a more convincing structure that combined narrative and analysis in describing Ruusbroec’s life and (literary) works as constitutive elements in his personal history.
This does not lead up to what is usually seen as a biography. The historical facts on Ruusbroec’s life are too few and far between. Ruusbroec can only come to life by placing him against a background of contemporary developments in spiritual and literary culture.
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