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Jacob van Maerlant (or Merlant) is known as the greatest Flemish poet of the Middle Ages. He was born about 1235 and died sometime after 1291. Of his life little is known. In his first work, Merlijns Boeck, the author calls himself "Jacob de coster van Merlant" while in the later Der Naturen Bloeme he calls himself "Jacob van Merlant". His name may have come from Maerlant on the island of Voorne, where he lived for some time employed as a sexton (coster). Later he moved to Flanders and resided at Damme, near Bruges, where he may have held the position of town clerk. Maerlant's earliest works were chivalrous romances, such as were in vogue at that time in courtly circles, and were adapted from French or Latin sources. Such are Alexanders Geesten (the Alexander Romance, tales of Alexander the Great, c. 1257), from the Latin of Gauthier de Chastillon; Historie van den Grale (the grail legend) and Merlijns Boeck (Merlin's book) from the French Arthur stories of Robert de Borron; and the Historie van Troyen (History of Troy, the Trojan war. ca. 1264), from the French of Benoit de Sainte More.

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Jacob van Maerlant (or Merlant) is known as the greatest Flemish poet of the Middle Ages. He was born about 1235 and died sometime after 1291. Of his life little is known. In his first work, Merlijns Boeck, the author calls himself "Jacob de coster van Merlant" while in the later Der Naturen Bloeme he calls himself "Jacob van Merlant". His name may have come from Maerlant on the island of Voorne, where he lived for some time employed as a sexton (coster). Later he moved to Flanders and resided at Damme, near Bruges, where he may have held the position of town clerk. Maerlant's earliest works were chivalrous romances, such as were in vogue at that time in courtly circles, and were adapted from French or Latin sources. Such are Alexanders Geesten (the Alexander Romance, tales of Alexander the Great, c. 1257), from the Latin of Gauthier de Chastillon; Historie van den Grale (the grail legend) and Merlijns Boeck (Merlin's book) from the French Arthur stories of Robert de Borron; and the Historie van Troyen (History of Troy, the Trojan war. ca. 1264), from the French of Benoit de Sainte More. More...

 
       
 
         
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