Pilgrimage in spiritual landscapes – socio-religious practice in the poetry of Venantius Fortunatus
The poetry of Venantius Fortunatus is a worthwhile example of the role of resonance in artistic texts. The poet is creating a spiritual landscape for the Frankish Gaul of the sixth century, particularly for his latinophone recipients who live there. To do this, he is writing poetry about actual things in Frankish Gaul (places, buildings, individuals) and about religious rituals of Catholic Christianity. His poetry is thus something fundamentally new: Frankish-Gallic, early medieval poetry, as the archegetes of which he is adopted by later poets (Alcuin, Hrabanus Maurus).
How the poetry of Venantius Fortunatus, through references to Frankish-Gallic realities and rituals, is putting itself into a relationship with its recipients, I am going to explore in numerous examples. My research is thus mainly an exploration of the technique of creating resonance in literature. The following aspects will play a part in this: the styling of the poet as a pilgrim in the preface to the carmina and the epilogue to the vita Sancti Martini, the role of occasional poetry in Frankish-Gallic culture, Frankish Gaul as space in his poetry.
A particular focus shall be on those poems that relate to religious rituals. Those are for example the poems used as church hymns, the cross-shaped poems and the vita Sancti Martini, possibly used in Christian meditation. I will focus on how these poems worked in their respective ritual contexts. The vita Sancti Martini is particularly interesting for this focus, as the poet seems to have formed his epic in close relationship to the depictions of the life of the saint as would have been present in churches of Saint Martin; the relationship: church building – ritual – poem are to be explored.
A possible gain in the frame of the research project Resonant Self-World Relations will be the light to be shed on artistic texts as resonant things in general. Texts are unique as they resonate in many different directions in the world of intertextuality / intermediality and through their innate aesthetic appeal. I hope to be able to describe the workings of resonance in artistic texts more precisely on the example of the poetry of Venantius Fortunatus.