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Chapter Summary

The German poet/philologist Hoffmann von Fallersleben (1798-1874) was celebrated during his lifetime for his pioneering work on medieval Dutch literature; after his death his philological merits were questioned. This article attempts to place Hoffmann’s pioneering work in perspective, taking into consideration his objectives in searching, listing and editing medieval Dutch folk song. Special attention is given to discrepancies between his research strategies in Germany and in the Netherlands. A muted response to his several appeals to Dutch literati to forward samples of medieval song, as well as his literary taste and preconceptions about what he believed was the extinction of a native song culture in Holland, prevented Hoffmann from recording the living heritage of folk song in the Netherlands. Hoffmanns views as an editor are also discussed with respect to his other, less academic objective: restoring medieval folk song to popularity.



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