Poetry Expo 24 / 22 February 2024

Women and Gender in the Middle Ages

Poetry Expo 24

The traditional narratives describing women in the Middle Ages in the Low Countries reveal images of strong, intelligent, and opinionated women who were ready to fight for their place under the sun. Two particularly memorable and popular stories are those of the princess who defeats the Blue Beard and of Mariken van Nieumeghen. The first is a medieval ballad - "Lied van heer Halewijn", while the second is a folk tale recounting Mariken van Nieumeghen 's apprenticeship with the Devil. These two tales have inspired poems originally written in Bulgarian by Miglena Dikova-Milanova and translated into Dutch by Hellen Kooijman. The poems aim to reinterpret medieval women characters in the contemporary context of political correctness, gender equality, and social justice.

The project features readings of the poems and listening to medieval texts and songs as part of an interactive workshop on Medieval Women from the Low Countries.

The project is part of the subthemes Literature as a tool for social equality.


Miglena Dikova-Milanova

Miglena Dikova-Milanova is a lecturer of Bulgarian language and culture at the Department of Languages and Cultures at Ghent University.

She holds a PhD in Philosophy from KU Leuven, 2008. Her research interests and publications include Russian and Bulgarian classic and contemporary literature, in particular M. Bulgakov, L. Tolstoy, A. Popov and G. Gospodinov, literary history and criticism, philosophy of culture and aesthetics.

Miglena Dikova-Milanova is the author of two poetry books, "Будна вода" (“Wake water”,1992) and “4(four)2(two)на” (2021).