Piramus en Thisbe — Twee Rederijkersspelen uit de Zestiende Eeuw

By Dr. G.A. van Es
A Bronnenstudie en tekstuitgave by Dr. G.A. van Es.

This 2002 Sinterklaas present brings together the two oldest Dutch plays based on Ovid’s immortal Piramus and Thisbe story. Notes, reprints of illustrations and manuscript and of course the delightful story material combine to form a very pleasant package.

  • Author: Dr. G.A. van Es
  • Publisher: Zwolse Drukken en Herdrukken voor de Maatschappij der Nederlands Letterkunde te Leiden
  • Published:1964

One of the most curious phenomena in the history of the Dutch language is the rapid swing from being almost a calque of German to becoming a calque of English. The introduction to this book, published in 1964, is written in a heavily Germanized Dutch that is sometimes slow to read. By contrast, the sixteenth century Dutch is a breeze.

Nevertheless, since I have always thoroughly enjoyed the various spoofs of the Piramus and Thisbe story in Kees Stip’s Zes Variaties op een Misverstand, this book provided a lot of background. It even gives the sources for the reproduced plays from the Gesta Romanorum and the Bible des Po├Ętes.

These plays are so-called Rederijkersspelen. This particular genre has been long maligned, but the sheer fun that speaks from them, even four centuries after, is infective. The authors of the plays, the people who wrote them down in the collected plays for the Haarlemse Rederijkerskamer and surely the people who acted the plays must have enjoyed them a lot.