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Document Details :
Title: De andere Mertens
Subtitle: Jacob van Maerlants Martijn-dialogen als drieluik
Author(s): WARNAR, Geert
Journal: Ons Geestelijk Erf
Volume: 90 Issue: 3-4 Date: 2020
The literary oeuvre of the thirteenth-century Dutch author Jacob van Maerlant includes three dialogues between the two friends Jacob and Martijn (the so-called Martijn-poems). This article reconsiders the evidence for the assumption that these are three separate texts rather than a coherent ‘triptych’. The transmission of the texts in manuscript and print suggests that scribes and readers (and a translator) thought of the three dialogues as three parts (books) that formed one unity. Based on these observations an analysis of the three dialogues as a continuous conversation traces how the interaction between the Jacob and Martijn characters develops over the course of the three dialogues together, including shifts in the dominant voice and the distribution of roles. This changing relation of the interlocutors coincides with the growing significance of religious themes in the dialogue, leading to a detailed exposition of the understanding of the Trinity. The turn towards this theme takes place in the second of the dialogues, where a dilemma known from the love debate literature (demandes d’amour) is redefined (by Jacob) as a choice between the world and the divine. This pivotal position of the second dialogue turns it into the link that unites the three dialogues.