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n Literator : Journal of Literary Criticism, Comparative Linguistics and Literary Studies - Die lang pad na die appelboom : oor besondere tuine en tuiniers in enkele Nederlandse gedigte : research article
The long road to the apple tree : special gardens and gardeners in a selection of Dutch poems
Gardens and gardeners are very meaningful symbols in most cultures and especially in literature. Gardens suggest the better country, an earthly or heavenly paradise, the soul "and the qualities cultivated in it" (Cooper, 1978). The gardener, on the other hand, is symbolic of the Creator who is the gardener of the soul, regenerating spiritual life in the individual. Plants like lilies and roses growing in these spiritual landscapes are also significant. In what follows a number of Dutch poems utilizing these important symbols are scrutinized. Starting with late the Middle Ages, Suster Bertken's Lyedeken;" is seen as the prototype in its genre. After that the focus is placed on Dutch poems from the 19th and 20th century: Petrus Augustus de Génestet's "'t Was toch de hovenier" and Ida Gerhardt's "Christus als hovenier" are compared as both use the symbol of the gardener. Both poems are based on a verse from John's gospel. In the last instance Rutger Kopland's "Onder de appelboom", a totally secular poem written in praise of his private earthly paradise, is analysed.
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