Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on ReligionInstitute for Studies of Relgion
IJRR :: 2018 Volume 14 :: Article 15
2018 Volume 14, Article 15
Metaphoric Narration: Mimesis of Mystic Experience in Hadewijch of Brabant’s “Vision 1”

Author: Catherine Caufield (Concordia University of Edmonton Edmonton, Alberta)

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Utilizing linguistics and literary criticism as the interpretive framework, hermeneut Luz Aurora Pimentel elaborated the theoretical concept of “metaphoric narration.” Metaphoric narration is the intellectual semiotic, or meaning-making, process of metaphorization at the level of the text; in other words, Pimentel has experimented with the possibility of metaphor in the context of the whole of a work rather than just in the context of a sentence. This article tests Pimentel’s experiment by applying the theory of metaphoric narration to a close reading of Hadewijch of Brabant’s “Vision 1,” asking the question, Does the theory of metaphoric narration assist in analyzing narrative expression of lived, mystical experience? In working through an interpretation of this text utilizing Pimentel’s theory, findings indicate that there are characteristics of metaphoric narration that Hadewijch has leveraged in order to transmute her spiritual experience into written language that is mimetic of that lived experience. This detailed study indicates that metaphoric narration may be a useful analytical approach of interest to medieval scholars, as it utilizes semiotics rather than psychoanalysis for its interpretive reference. It will also be of interest to literary studies in its articulation of the expressive possibilities offered by metaphoric narration, and to those in religious studies with an interest in mysticism but limited knowledge of either Hadewijch or literary methods of analysis.

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