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Synopsis

Alexandrines
by Julia Bilger

Angelus Silesius was a German mystic of the Counter-Reformation. He was born and baptized Johannes Scheffler in 1624 in the province of Silesia. In 1653, he converted to Catholicism from Lutheranism and spent the rest of his life avidly trying to reconvert the people of Silesia. Today, however, he is known primarily for his mystical poetry, which was cast primarily in the form of 'Alexandrines', which are simple rhymed couplets. Of course, they lose much in translation, and many seem quite naïve, but the depth of feeling cannot be denied, and many more can be seen to approach haiku and other short, mystical poetry from around the world.

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