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Old 12-19-2013   #11
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Re: L'école belge de l'étrange

It is threads such as this that got me hook'd on TLO. What richness of information, and of passion. Thank ye!

"We work in the dark -- we do what we can -- we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art."
--Henry James (1843-1916)
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Old 12-20-2013   #12
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Re: L'école belge de l'étrange

Eugène Savitzkaya sounds interesting too. Read Edward Gauvin's introduction here.
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Old 12-20-2013   #13
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Re: L'école belge de l'étrange

The amount of names mentioned in previous posts is impressive. I've heard about many of those without actually realizing they were authors whose books were available in English.

I happened to be visiting Brussels this year taking a tour of the city. I've also rummaged through a couple of second-hand bookstores, coming across Ghelderode's Sortilège for €1 with the following signature:



(which looks fake, but was worth the purchase in the original nonetheless.)

Some shots of memorial plaques relevant to this thread:


The poet and novelist, Georges Rodenbach, 1855-1898, wrote here: La Jeunesse Blanche.


In this house was born, 3 April 1898, the writer Michel de Ghelderode. Given by his American friends, 17 August 1960.


Michel de Ghelderode « Lord of Zavelput and other places »wrote in this house « La Balade du Grand Macabre », « Hop, Signor ! », « Mademoisell Jaïre » and many others.


Michel de Ghelderode died here on 1 April 1962

"In my imagination, I have a small apartment in a small town where I live alone and gaze through a window at a wintry landscape." -- TL
Confusio Linguarum - visionary literature, translingualism & bibliophily

Last edited by yellowish haze; 08-21-2016 at 01:22 PM..
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Old 12-20-2013   #14
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Re: L'école belge de l'étrange

Here is a neat (wiki) summary on Ghelderode (he also was an avid collector of mannequins, puppets etc):

"A prolific writer, he wrote more than sixty plays, a hundred stories, a number of articles on art and folklore and more than 20,000 letters. He is the creator of a fantastic and disturbing, often macabre, grotesque and cruel world filled with mannequins, puppets, devils, masks, skeletons, religious paraphernalia, and mysterious old women. His works create an eerie and unsettling atmosphere although they rarely contain anything explicitly scary. Among Ghelderode's influences were puppet theater, commedia dell'arte and the Belgian painter of the macabre, James Ensor. His works often deal with the extremes of human experience, from death and degradation to religious exaltation. His 1934 play La Balade du grand macabre served as inspiration for György Ligeti's opera Le Grand Macabre.
According to Oscar G. Brockett, the works of Ghelderode resemble those of Alfred Jarry, the surrealists, and the expressionists, and his theories are similar to those of Antonin Artaud. In nearly all of his approximately thirty plays runs his perception of human beings as creatures whose flesh overpowers spirit. "Corruption, death and cruelty are always near the surface [of Ghelderode's work], although behind them lurks an implied criticism of degradation and materialism and a call to repentance ". Jean Cocteau proclaimed: "Ghelderode is the black diamond that closes the necklace of poets that Belgium carries around her neck. This black diamond casts a cruel and noble fire. It wounds only the small souled. It dazzles others."

He was also influenced by Poe, Baudelaire, unknown/forgotten medieval tales (through his father, an archivist), various horror/supernatural works (through his mother) and the Belgian Renaissance painters.

As an aside, the Dedalus book of Flemish Fantasy also has various interesting translated short stories across horror, fantasy etc.
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Old 12-20-2013   #15
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Re: L'école belge de l'étrange

Quote Originally Posted by Uitarii View Post
Here is a neat (wiki) summary on Ghelderode (he also was an avid collector of mannequins, puppets etc):
Uitarii,
Ghelderode is a very interesting figure and I think a bit overseen on the forum. I really regret that during my stay in Brussels I haven't managed to visit Musée-bibliothèque Michel de Ghelderode, which contains his library as well as many of the curiosities he collected.



http://www.brusselsmuseums.be/fr/mus...%A9es-de-l-ulb

Some may find it interesting to know that Michel de Ghelderode and Jean Ray were friends and among the impressive 20,000 letters Ghelderode wrote, a tiny fraction is between these two writers of the weird.

"In my imagination, I have a small apartment in a small town where I live alone and gaze through a window at a wintry landscape." -- TL
Confusio Linguarum - visionary literature, translingualism & bibliophily
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Old 12-20-2013   #16
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Re: L'école belge de l'étrange

Yellowish Haze, agree with him being overseen. I think the level of appreciation could increase if translations went beyond his major plays to some of his short stories. His short stories are varied and many reflecting a pessimistic vision of the world, his obsession with death and dreams, his fascination for the diabolical jester etc etc His only novel, narrated in the first person, titled "The Man with the Golden Moustache" is also worthy of a translation, populated with a host of strange characters and set in various locations in Belgium (e.g. Bruges) and Holland.
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Old 12-22-2013   #17
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Re: L'école belge de l'étrange

Quote Originally Posted by Uitarii View Post
His only novel, narrated in the first person, titled "The Man with the Golden Moustache" is also worthy of a translation, populated with a host of strange characters and set in various locations in Belgium (e.g. Bruges) and Holland.
There is very little information on this book that I could find on the internet, but I will definitely read it if I find a copy. Thank you for sharing!

Turning back to one of the writers from my first post...


The upcoming week, I'm planning to read the Belgian magazine Phénix, issue 32, which contains a vast collection of memoires and testimonials on Jean Ray, who for a very long time enjoyed the reputation of being a pirate and a smuggler, which obviously turned out to be entirely untrue. I see there is an article by Thomas Owen. I'd like to see what various authors/editors have to say about the demystified Belgian Poe. I hope to find a moment to share my impressions here.

"In my imagination, I have a small apartment in a small town where I live alone and gaze through a window at a wintry landscape." -- TL
Confusio Linguarum - visionary literature, translingualism & bibliophily
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Old 12-22-2013   #18
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Re: L'école belge de l'étrange

I look forward to your comments on Jean Ray. The full version of short French film on Ray (apologies no subtitles):

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x17ouu_jean-ray-john-flanders_shortfilms
(Sorry about the link, just click on the title)
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Old 12-22-2013   #19
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Re: L'école belge de l'étrange

Nice thread! The Belgian poet, photographer, film-maker and artist Marcel Broodthaers (1924-1976) could perhaps also be connected to this school. In his youth he had some contact with the Belgian Surrealists, especially Magritte, who were later a crucial influence on him.

Broodthaers' works since 1963 are complex and dumply simple, bland and mysterious, exotic and universal, all at once. Michael Werner Gallery in London is presently exhibiting one of Broodthaers sculptural installations, "Décor: A Conquest", from 1975. This is apparently the first showing of the work since it was made. The installation views also hint at Broodthaers' attraction to places where there's too much stuff that doesn't fit.





"Décor: A Conquest" (XIXth Century Room), 1975
One flower ball on wooden pedestal, ten grass mats, eight palm trees, one colour photograph of a cowboy film, two wooden barrels (labeled ‘GIN’ and ‘RUM’), two silver-plated candelabras on two iron plinths with wooden tops, two red velvet Edwardian chairs, four light reflectors (one red and three green), one stuffed python, one XIXth-century pistol on wooden pedestal, one circular table with green felt displaying one miniature pack of cards, one plastic crab, and one plastic lobster, two Waterloo-style cannons.
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Old 12-23-2013   #20
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Re: L'école belge de l'étrange

The contemporary Belgian artist Wim Delvoye (b. 1965) also seem related to the poetic horror of Jean Ray, Thomas Owen etc., especially his large scale gothic works. Some examples:


Chapelle, 2006
laser-cut Corten steel and stained glass
480 x 1080 x 705 cm


Dump Truck, 2006
laser-cut Corten steel, 310 x 860 x 270 cm


Pergola, 2011
laser-cut Corten steel, 1200 x 1200 x 700 cm
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