An Anthology of Belgian Symbolist Poets (Belgian Francophone

Initially released in 1992, this bilingual anthology represents the power, variety, and originality with which the Symbolist move used to be grafted in Belgium. Cultivating an aesthetics of hallucination and spatial paradigms of the internal global, the fin de siècle Belgian poets reworked the canal towns and landscapes in their native land into lasting magnets of the mind's eye. The Belgian Symbolist poems are vessels of passage to visionary nation-states, demonstrating the permeability of internal and outer truth.

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Extra info for An Anthology of Belgian Symbolist Poets (Belgian Francophone Library)

Sample text

During those hours of sad evening . ” from The Enclosed Lives During those hours of sad evening, when you wish you were dead, When the heart is desolate and so weary, the soul, How soothing to approach the mirror and gaze, Calm waters of the mirror, impossible to exhaust, Where you lose yourself, drifting from shore, in retreat . . Oh! to set out in the cooling water of the mirror, To perish, somewhat, as if in the water of twilight, Donald Flanell Friedman: Belgian Symbolism, an Anthology page 23 Georges Rodenbach La Nuit souffre!

She knew too much to live any longer, She longed too much to shape the truth, Enthroned on the pedestal of black rocks, Of every breath and every shadow. And now, she is atrociously dead, Of a venomous elixir, distilled by destiny, Dead, as well, of a delirious desire, For the most absurd, scarlet kingdom. Her fibers have burst apart, Some evening, illuminated for joy, As she already felt its glory floating Above her head, like wild eagles. She is dead of impotence, Her ardor and will ground to sand, And it was she who took her life, Endlessly exhausted.

Throughout the Black Trilogy, the poet’s interior wound is mirrored in funereal landscapes of dullness, putrefaction, or deranged fury. With the combination of minute observation and subjective distortion which typifies Belgian Symbolism, the world is molded and made to conform to the poet’s unflinching, nihilistic vision. Though concentrated in the Black Trilogy, it is important to note that this dark phase of Verhaeren’s creation is not delimited. Experiences of self-torment and dejection are recurrent in Les Campagnes Hallucinées (1893), in which madmen’s songs form the thread of the collection, Les Villages Illusoires (1895) and Les Villes à Donald Flanell Friedman: Belgian Symbolism, an Anthology page 33 Emile Verhaeren 33 Pignons (1910).

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