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Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe

versão On-line ISSN 2224-7912
versão impressa ISSN 0041-4751


OHLHOFF, Heinrich. "Harba lori fa": A textual and intertextual journey. Tydskr. geesteswet. [online]. 2021, vol.61, n.4-1, pp.1177-1193. ISSN 2224-7912.

This article is about three poetry texts: "Eens Meienmorgens vroe" (Early one May morning) by the 13th century Dutch minstrel Duke Jan I of Brabant, and texts by two twentieth-century poets - TT Cloete (Afrikaans) and Cees Nooteboom (Dutch) - who both use the refrain from Jan I's text ("Harba lori fa") as title. Various interpretations of the refrain and some views on intertextuality are addressed, among others absolute and limited intertextuality and the ideas of Panagiotidou who approaches this phenomenon from a cognitive perspective. She points out, inter alia, that triggers such as words and phrases in a current text may lead readers to activate related texts and that the amount of detail (granularity) recollected is an important factor. Subsequently the three texts are considered independently - as far as this is possible -regarding their nature and structure. Attention is paid, inter alia, to sound, syntactic and semantic patterns and their functions, symbolic values, especially of elements from nature that occur in all the texts, and the role, tone and attitude of the speaking voice in each text. In the case of Jan I's text, attention is paid, for example, to spring and traditions associated with it in Western Europe and to the presence (or not?) of courtly behaviour. Some crucial aspects of Cloete's "family poem" are the close-knit relations between parents and children as reflected by the use of "our" and the association of the members with a bed of flowers. A game is also played with the reader by concealing the names of the poet's wife and children in neologisms like "Astert," at the same time undergirding the garden motif further. Nooteboom's text has no full rhyme, but makes use of parallelism, the repetition of certain vowels and alliteration ("lijden en lachen"). The latter emphasizes the semantic opposition of suffering and laughter, a contrast that reverberates throughout the poem, especially when considering the symbolic values of the natural elements that readers may activate, for instance fig and laurel versus thorn and thistle. This creates a degree of ambivalence in the speaker's attitude towards life, despite the seemingly joyful shout "harba lori fa" in the course of the poem. Hereafter. the author focuses on the relationship of the Cloete and Nooteboom texts (final texts) to "EensMeienmorgens vroe" (initial text) as well as their mutual relationship with regard to, inter alia, shifts, repetition, rereading, and replacements. Important to note, however, is that Cloete's text does not only echo Jan I's poem, but also Psalm 128 from the Bible that is referenced in a second paratextual element: a subtitle. Both poets' texts show a clear geographical shift: in Cloete's case from the Dutch world of Jan I's song and the ancient Near Eastern setting of Psalm 128 to a South African environment as indicated clearly by the plant name "kanna" (from Khoi). In Nooteboom's poem there is a shift from the Netherlands to a Mediterranean sphere. Cloete replaces the three pretty "joncfrouwen" (unmarried girls) with a wife and children and the young man hoping to find love with a happily married husband and father. The rather contentious (ideological) issue is raised of whether all readers willfind this schema - also reflected in the Psalm - acceptable, confirming the ideology of a nuclear family. Nooteboom's poem mentions no women, but only a friend "who knows the story of his downfall". Whereas the situation in the Cloete text reflects happiness and fulfilment, the speaker towards the end of Nooteboom's poem - portraying himself as a weaving spider -foresees his potential destruction. In view of the friend's situation, this may perhaps be seen as a destabilising and doubling of the self that some critics identify in Nooteboom's work. Granularity, as it becomes evident in the intertextual relationships between Jan I's poem and the others, is also briefly discussed.To Conclude: It was found that this (limited) intertextual approach not only revealed the details of each text more clearly, but that they also bring each other in full relief

Palavras-chave : Duke Jan I of Brabant; Eens Meienmorgens vroe; TT Cloete; Cees Nooteboom; Harba lori fa; symbol; intertertextuality; shift; repetition; replacement; addition; rereading; cognitive stylistics; conceptual metaphor; granularity.

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