Dinah Wouters is currently completing her PhD project at Ghent University. She is interested in the relations between literary and cultural forms, specifically in visionary and allegorical literature of the High Middle Ages.
“I followed up a master in Latin and English historical linguistics and literature with a master in gender studies. At the moment, I am writing a PhD dissertation on the vision books of Hildegard of Bingen. I study how allegory and exegesis work in tandem to carve out a distinct position for these prophetic texts in the intellectual landscape of mid-twelfth century Western Europe.”
“I find it productive to think of Hildegard not as the ‘prophetessa teutonica,’ as she has been called, but as an author who is trying to position her Latin text in the field of European literature, claiming at the same time its exceptional prophetic authority and its intellectual qualities. She rejects rhetoric and Latin schooling, but uses the symbolic and linguistic potential of the Latin language to state her claims. In the future, I would like to extend my research to how similar texts take up equally ambiguous positions with regard to the literary dynamics of Latin.”
“I think that the viewpoint for which RELICS stands can be of great value for the study of medieval literature. We still have the habit of reading along national and linguistic lines, thereby cutting through generic and other ties and reducing Latin literature to the language of church and administration, a tradition of texts which might stand above but not among the other literatures. When we think of Latin as a shared language, however, and a literature implicated in vernacular literatures on symbolic, intertextual, and pragmatic levels, we can further deepen our understanding of the complexity of medieval literature and trace new lines that can help us make sense of the complexity.”