Image: Heinrich von Veldeke

Heinrich von Veldeke (1140?-1200?)

Heinrich von Veldeke (1140?-1200?), German courtly poet, who wrote the earliest remaining examples of Dutch literature, and the earliest Flemish poetry ( "see "Flemish Literature). His works were all written in the Flemish language. Heinrich was born near Maastricht (now in the Netherlands). He served for a number of years as a courtier in Kleve, Germany. There, he composed his first major work, "Servatius" (1170?), a poem on the life of the patron saint of Maastricht. Some time after 1173 Heinrich began work on his most considerable composition, the epic poem "Eneit", a translation of the influential "Aeneid" by Roman poet Virgil. A significant example of courtly epic, it had a profound influence on the work of German poets Gottfried von Strassburg, Hartmann von Aue, and other minnesingers, lyric poet-composers of 12th-14th century Germany. Heinrich also wrote a number of short lyric poems. His work as a whole was characterized by a wide variety of new forms and meters, many learned from the French, and it marked the final transition from the old Germanic alliterative line to rhymed verse.

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