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Review Reviewed Work(s): Hieronymus Bosch. by Wilhelm Fraenger, Patrik Reuterswärd and Lutz Braun Review by:

Review Reviewed Work(s): Hieronymus Bosch. by Wilhelm Fraenger, Patrik Reuterswärd and Lutz Braun Review by: Walter S. Gibson Source: Speculum, Vol. 72, No. 4 (Oct., 1997), pp. 1171-1173 Published by: The University of Chicago Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2865976 Accessed: 08-08-2017 19:03 UTC

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ReviewsReviews

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manuscript context "can have generic implications, sometimes even differing ones for the

manuscript context "can have generic implications, sometimes even differing ones for the

same work" (p. 102).

same work" (p. 102).

In chapter 5, "The Rhetoric of Composite Structure, or Rereading Middle English Ro-

In chapter 5, "The Rhetoric of Composite Structure, or Rereading Middle English Ro-

mance: Conclusions," Evans reappraises the implications of statistical data to show that

mance: Conclusions," Evans reappraises the implications of statistical data to show that

his initial simple generalizations require further qualification. He identifies two categories

his initial simple generalizations require further qualification. He identifies two categories

of readers: the compiler who made the decisions about appearance of the romance in the

of readers: the compiler who made the decisions about appearance of the romance in the

manuscript and the modern reader. The consequence of their readings is "the rhetoric of

manuscript and the modern reader. The consequence of their readings is "the rhetoric of

composite structure," which leads to "a rereading that is challenging and illuminating be-

composite structure," which leads to "a rereading that is challenging and illuminating be-

cause of its multiple, wide-angle focus" (p. 114). I found Rereading Middle English Ro-

cause of its multiple, wide-angle focus" (p. 114). I found Rereading Middle English Ro-

mance had this precise effect. It reinforced some of my own critical analyses, particularly

mance had this precise effect. It reinforced some of my own critical analyses, particularly

my favoring of the religious interpretation and attention to manuscript contexts, and en-

my favoring of the religious interpretation and attention to manuscript contexts, and en-

couraged me to be even more attentive to the manuscripts. This book will certainly give

couraged me to be even more attentive to the manuscripts. This book will certainly give

an added dimension to future rereadings of Middle English romances.

an added dimension to future rereadings of Middle English romances.

VELMA BOURGEOIS RICHMOND, Holy Names College

VELMA BOURGEOIS RICHMOND, Holy Names College

WILHELM FRAENGER, Hieronymus Bosch. Epilogue by Patrik Reutersward. Photographs

WILHELM FRAENGER, Hieronymus Bosch. Epilogue by Patrik Reutersward. Photographs

by Lutz Braun. 10th ed. Dresden and Basel: Verlag der Kunst, 1994. Paper. Pp. 518;

by Lutz Braun. 10th ed. Dresden and Basel: Verlag der Kunst, 1994. Paper. Pp. 518;

many color, folding color, and black-and-white figures. Distributed in North America

many color, folding color, and black-and-white figures. Distributed in North America

by the University of Toronto Press.

by the University of Toronto Press.

Wilhelm Fraenger is best known for his Millennium of Hieronymus Bosch, the English

Wilhelm Fraenger is best known for his Millennium of Hieronymus Bosch, the English

translation of which first appeared in 1951. But this is only one of a number of studies on

translation of which first appeared in 1951. But this is only one of a number of studies on

Bosch that he published between 1947 and 1964. The recent appearance of the tenth edition

Bosch that he published between 1947 and 1964. The recent appearance of the tenth edition

of Fraenger's collected Bosch studies, first published around 1977, provides an appropriate

of Fraenger's collected Bosch studies, first published around 1977, provides an appropriate

occasion to review what must be one of the oddest episodes in the long history of "deci-

occasion to review what must be one of the oddest episodes in the long history of "deci-

phering" Bosch. The present volume contains all but one of Fraenger's previously published

phering" Bosch. The present volume contains all but one of Fraenger's previously published

studies, some revised from his later notes; omitted is his "Hieronymus Bosch, in seine

studies, some revised from his later notes; omitted is his "Hieronymus Bosch, in seine

Auseinandersetzung mit dem Unbewussten," first published in Du in 1951 and reprinted

Auseinandersetzung mit dem Unbewussten," first published in Du in 1951 and reprinted

in Von Bosch bis Beckmann: Ausgewdhlte Schriften (Dresden, 1977; Cologne, 1985). A

in Von Bosch bis Beckmann: Ausgewdhlte Schriften (Dresden, 1977; Cologne, 1985). A

supplement contains ten previously unpublished studies, among them a longer version of

supplement contains ten previously unpublished studies, among them a longer version of

his work on the Lisbon St. Anthony and shorter notes on various works, among them the

his work on the Lisbon St. Anthony and shorter notes on various works, among them the

Haywain and St. Julia triptych, and various topics, concluding with a postscript by Patrik

Haywain and St. Julia triptych, and various topics, concluding with a postscript by Patrik

Reutersward, chiefly an apologia of Fraenger's thesis. There is an English edition with the

Reutersward, chiefly an apologia of Fraenger's thesis. There is an English edition with the

same title (New York, 1983; New York and London, 1989). Brief summaries of these

same title (New York, 1983; New York and London, 1989). Brief summaries of these

studies also appear in my Hieronymus Bosch: An Annotated Bibliography (Boston, 1983).

studies also appear in my Hieronymus Bosch: An Annotated Bibliography (Boston, 1983).

A A

folklorist and art historian, Wilhelm Fraenger (1890-1965) founded and edited sev-

folklorist and art historian, Wilhelm Fraenger (1890-1965) founded and edited sev-

eral folklore periodicals; he was also involved with the literary and scholarly journal Cas-

eral folklore periodicals; he was also involved with the literary and scholarly journal Cas-

trum peregrini (Amsterdam, 1949-79), which published a number of his Bosch studies.

trum peregrini (Amsterdam, 1949-79), which published a number of his Bosch studies.

Although he wrote on other artists, including Bruegel, Griinewald, and Beckmann, his most

Although he wrote on other artists, including Bruegel, Griinewald, and Beckmann, his most

sustained efforts centered on Bosch. As early as 1934 he wrote Wolfgang Frommel that he

sustained efforts centered on Bosch. As early as 1934 he wrote Wolfgang Frommel that he

was working on two studies, "Hieronymus Bosch: The Paradise of Lust" and "The Paradise

was working on two studies, "Hieronymus Bosch: The Paradise of Lust" and "The Paradise

of Lust: A Dionysian Scenario." They anticipate by some years his first Bosch publication,

of Lust: A Dionysian Scenario." They anticipate by some years his first Bosch publication,

the Millennium of Hieronymus Bosch (1947), a detailed analysis of the Garden of Earthly

the Millennium of Hieronymus Bosch (1947), a detailed analysis of the Garden of Earthly

Delights. According to Fraenger, Bosch's triptych was commissioned by the grand master

Delights. According to Fraenger, Bosch's triptych was commissioned by the grand master

of the Adamites (also known as the homines intelligentiae and Brothers and Sisters of the

of the Adamites (also known as the homines intelligentiae and Brothers and Sisters of the

Free Spirit), a heretical sect believing that mankind could recover the "innocent sexuality"

Free Spirit), a heretical sect believing that mankind could recover the "innocent sexuality"

practiced by Adam and Eve before the Fall; this blissful state is depicted in the central

practiced by Adam and Eve before the Fall; this blissful state is depicted in the central

panel, where Bosch, a fellow Adamite, introduced his self-portrait. Shortly thereafter,

panel, where Bosch, a fellow Adamite, introduced his self-portrait. Shortly thereafter,

Fraenger announced that the grand master was Jacob van Almaengien, a Jew baptized in

Fraenger announced that the grand master was Jacob van Almaengien, a Jew baptized in

's-Hertogenbosch in 1496 in the presence of Philip the Fair, duke of Burgundy, who was

's-Hertogenbosch in 1496 in the presence of Philip the Fair, duke of Burgundy, who was

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one of his godfathers. Jacob also joined the local Confraternity of Our Lady, whose mem-

bers included Bosch, but a few years later he reverted to his ancestral faith. This brief

account, from the chronicle of Albertus Cuperinus, a local monk, is all that we know of

van Almaengien's life, but around him Fraenger spun a dream-romance that gradually

encompassed the majority of Bosch's paintings, including some known only through copies,

and several drawings. The only major work to have escaped his net was the Vienna Last

Judgment.

In Fraenger's reconstruction, van Almaengien commissioned many of these works to

commemorate various events in his lifelong spiritual quest. The details of this quest are somewhat obscure, but its outlines may be discerned. Van Almaengien passed his earlier

years in an Ebionite lodge, a survivor of an early Jewish-Christian sect believing in Christ but adhering to strict Mosaic law. He abandoned this sect, disgusted by their frog-goddess

Heket (castigated in the Rotterdam Marriage Feast at Cana, her "swamp-like promiscuity"

exposed in the Lisbon St. Anthony) and by their practice of ritual castration (pilloried in

the Conjuror and the Stone Operation). These Ebionite doctrines, like those of the Adam-

ites, Fraenger derived chiefly from a minute analysis of the symbolism, disguised and oth- erwise, in Bosch's pictures, fueled by his truly formidable knowledge of alchemy, Neopla- tonism, gnostic lore, and ancient religions and conveyed in a persuasively eloquent rhetoric that shines through even in translation.

Sometime after his Ebionite phase, van Almaengien became grand master of the Adam-

ites, for whom he commissioned such paintings as the Madrid St. John the Baptist and the Berlin St. John on Patmos, as well as the Garden of Earthly Delights, the last work painted

in 1496, the very year of his baptism. (How our hero reconciled Adamite ecstasies with

orthodox Christianity is never made clear.) But dissatisfied with what he saw as its cor-

ruption (documented in the Haywain), van Almaengien soon left the church, although he

continued to profess Christ. The Rotterdam Fall of the Rebel Angels and Noah's Flood

(both recto and verso) afforded Fraenger further insights into the grand master's life: an

early marriage with an Ebionite woman (whom he had previously freed from demonic

possession), his fierce sectarian struggle with the cult itself, and the deaths of his wife and

child in a disaster from which he barely escaped. In his disillusioned old age (commemo-

rated in the Rotterdam Wayfarer), van Almaengien memorialized his dead son again in the Cologne Nativity, done around 1516, which in effect constitutes his epitaph: "his age-worn

face [in the person of St. Joseph] already marked by death, he leans on the cradle tomb,

he is very tired, but

reduced to the status of an artist-amanuensis, faithfully painting the iconographical pro- grams devised by his patron. Indeed, it was through his association with the grand master,

Fraenger assures us, that Bosch "came of age as a man and a master painter." Fraenger's publications received a mixed reception. His exposition of Adamite doctrine

was greeted enthusiastically by a generation beginning to develop its own notions of "in-

nocent sexuality." Norman O. Brown (Love's Body, Life against Death), for example,

pointed to the Garden of Earthly Delights as a model worthy of emulation, and Herbert

Read wistfully speculated on the spiritual fate of the West had the Reformation been ef-

fected not by Luther and Calvin but by the Adamites. Scholarly opinion was generally more

critical. Fraenger's ideas were condemned by Charles de Tolnay, refuted at length by Dirk

Bax, and passed over in complete silence by the editors of Max J. Friedlander's Early

Netherlandish Painting (vol. 5, 1969). In his postscript Patrik Reutersward complains that

Fraenger in effect was the victim of "a scholarly judicial murder" and suggests that his

ideas might have been more favorably received had he interjected an occasional "perhaps"

or "possibly." But I doubt it. No amount of qualifications can disguise the gross implau-

sibility of Fraenger's claims. There is no evidence whatsoever that 's-Hertogenbosch har-

bored an esoteric sect like the Ebionites. As for the Adamites, Robert Lerner (The Heresy

inwardly sure of Christmas grace." As for Bosch, he was largely

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of the Free Spirit in the Later Middle Ages, 1972) maintains that they did not long survive

of the Free Spirit in the Later Middle Ages, 1972) maintains that they did not long survive

their last appearance in 1411 and that their doctrines and sexual practices have been greatly

their last appearance in 1411 and that their doctrines and sexual practices have been greatly

distorted by later writers. Moreover, in 1517, only a year after Bosch's death, Fraenger's

distorted by later writers. Moreover, in 1517, only a year after Bosch's death, Fraenger's

Adamite showpiece, the Garden of Earthly Delights, was in the possession of Hendrick III

Adamite showpiece, the Garden of Earthly Delights, was in the possession of Hendrick III

of Nassau, a presumably unheretical Burgundian noble who may in fact have commissioned

of Nassau, a presumably unheretical Burgundian noble who may in fact have commissioned

it. Finally, recent laboratory examinations of Bosch's paintings show that he evolved his

it. Finally, recent laboratory examinations of Bosch's paintings show that he evolved his

compositions with remarkable spontaneity, introducing many and often major changes in

compositions with remarkable spontaneity, introducing many and often major changes in

the course of painting; thus it is highly unlikely that he adhered, as Fraenger assumed, to

the course of painting; thus it is highly unlikely that he adhered, as Fraenger assumed, to

a a

predetermined program.

predetermined program.

Despite this widespread rejection, however, Fraenger's theories have nonetheless had

Despite this widespread rejection, however, Fraenger's theories have nonetheless had

their effect. Jacob van Almaengien surfaces again in two studies by Clement Wertheim

their effect. Jacob van Almaengien surfaces again in two studies by Clement Wertheim

Aymes (Hieronymus Bosch: Eine Einfuhrung in seine geheime Symbolik, 1957, and Die

Aymes (Hieronymus Bosch: Eine Einfuhrung in seine geheime Symbolik, 1957, and Die

Bildersprach des Hieronymus Bosch, 1961), where he is the grand master of a Rosicrucian

Bildersprach des Hieronymus Bosch, 1961), where he is the grand master of a Rosicrucian

group to which Bosch also belonged. The Rosicrucians, incidentally, seem to have origi-

group to which Bosch also belonged. The Rosicrucians, incidentally, seem to have origi-

nated only after 1600 (Frances A. Yates, The Rosicrucian Enlightenment, 1972). Fraenger's

nated only after 1600 (Frances A. Yates, The Rosicrucian Enlightenment, 1972). Fraenger's

account of Bosch has inspired at least one novel, Nicholas Salaman's Garden of Earthly

account of Bosch has inspired at least one novel, Nicholas Salaman's Garden of Earthly

Delights (1993). Salaman tells a good story, but he hardly surpasses Fraenger in his nar-

Delights (1993). Salaman tells a good story, but he hardly surpasses Fraenger in his nar-

rative ingenuity and his disregard for historical probabilities.

rative ingenuity and his disregard for historical probabilities.

WALTER S. GIBSON, Case Western Reserve University

WALTER S. GIBSON, Case Western Reserve University

PAOLO GATTI and ANTONELLA DEGL'INNOCENTI, eds., Dudone di San Quintino. (Labirinti,

PAOLO GATTI and ANTONELLA DEGL'INNOCENTI, eds., Dudone di San Quintino. (Labirinti,

16.) Trent: Dipartimento di Scienze Filologiche e Storiche, Universita degli Studi di

16.) Trent: Dipartimento di Scienze Filologiche e Storiche, Universita degli Studi di

Trento, 1995. Paper. Pp. 218. L 25,000.

Trento, 1995. Paper. Pp. 218. L 25,000.

Since 1992 the Department of Philological and Historical Studies at the University of Trent

Since 1992 the Department of Philological and Historical Studies at the University of Trent

has been publishing, under the general direction of Paolo Gatti, papers from small, thematic

has been publishing, under the general direction of Paolo Gatti, papers from small, thematic

conferences held at the university. If volume 16, the result of a 1994 conference of eminent

conferences held at the university. If volume 16, the result of a 1994 conference of eminent

older and younger scholars from Scandinavia, Germany, France, Switzerland, and Italy on

older and younger scholars from Scandinavia, Germany, France, Switzerland, and Italy on

Dudo of St. Quentin's prosimetrical Gesta Normannorum, is indicative of the quality of

Dudo of St. Quentin's prosimetrical Gesta Normannorum, is indicative of the quality of

the series, then Trent deserves to be widely recognized as a dynamic center of medieval

the series, then Trent deserves to be widely recognized as a dynamic center of medieval

studies. The polyglot volume is beautifully produced and contains a perfectly organized

studies. The polyglot volume is beautifully produced and contains a perfectly organized

ensemble of interrelated essays, themselves of almost uniformly high quality. The volume

ensemble of interrelated essays, themselves of almost uniformly high quality. The volume

will be of use to almost anyone interested in medieval literary culture (including historio-

will be of use to almost anyone interested in medieval literary culture (including historio-

graphical traditions) and, thanks primarily to the contributions of Bernhard Pabst and Peter

graphical traditions) and, thanks primarily to the contributions of Bernhard Pabst and Peter

Stotz, will be especially useful to those who focus on verse or prosimetrum; after all, the

Stotz, will be especially useful to those who focus on verse or prosimetrum; after all, the

metrical portions of Dudo's Gesta Normannorum are unsurpassed in range and variety.

metrical portions of Dudo's Gesta Normannorum are unsurpassed in range and variety.

The collection will be required reading for everyone in the growing field of Dudo schol-

The collection will be required reading for everyone in the growing field of Dudo schol-

arship. This canon of St. Quentin, writing at the turn of the first millennium, emerges as

arship. This canon of St. Quentin, writing at the turn of the first millennium, emerges as

an author who utilized, with sophistication and deliberation (albeit in a mannerist style

an author who utilized, with sophistication and deliberation (albeit in a mannerist style

that has sometimes repelled modern scholars), an impressive repertoire of sources and

that has sometimes repelled modern scholars), an impressive repertoire of sources and

models (ancient and medieval, oral and written); his masterpiece was at the center of literary

models (ancient and medieval, oral and written); his masterpiece was at the center of literary

(including historiographical) developments for centuries after his death. Thus Karsten Friis-

(including historiographical) developments for centuries after his death. Thus Karsten Friis-

Jensen argues that Saxo Grammaticus found much of his own inspiration in the Gesta

Jensen argues that Saxo Grammaticus found much of his own inspiration in the Gesta

Normannorum, and Francine Mora suggests some potentially innovative approaches to

Normannorum, and Francine Mora suggests some potentially innovative approaches to

the development by Wace and Benoit of French into a literary and historiographical lan-

the development by Wace and Benoit of French into a literary and historiographical lan-

guage through the very process of "translating" Dudo's Latin text.

guage through the very process of "translating" Dudo's Latin text.

All of the volume's contributors (except Marcello Meli, who suggested the conference

All of the volume's contributors (except Marcello Meli, who suggested the conference

theme in the first place yet paradoxically produced the only weak essay in the collection)

theme in the first place yet paradoxically produced the only weak essay in the collection)

have engaged with and responded to significant pre-1994 scholarship on Dudo, rendering

have engaged with and responded to significant pre-1994 scholarship on Dudo, rendering

the synthetic collection an excellent point of departure for future research, particularly in

the synthetic collection an excellent point of departure for future research, particularly in

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