In the study of Middle Dutch literature, the key question of authorship and its contemporary interpretations has rarely been asked, probably because most texts were handed down anonymously. However, through the analysis of the opera omnia of four Middle Dutch authors, Hadewijch, Jan van Ruusbroec, Jan van Leeuwen and Willem van Hildegaersberch, it is possible to gain insight into the perceptions, importance, and ideally, the origin of (modern) authorship in the vernacular literature of the Netherlands. The second component of this project concerns the reconstructions of these four vernacular authors in literary histories from the mid-nineteenth century onwards. These books give an overview of the Dutch literary tradition, proceeding from a specific vision on literature, society and history. By analyzing these literary histories, four authors will be placed in a larger context. We will focus on the image that emerges, the modifications of the reconstructions and the underlying motivations.