Geo Norge, pseudonym of Georges Mogin, (born June 2, 1898, Brussels, Belgium--died October 25, 1990, Mougins, France), Belgian poet whose love of language found expression in a concise, often playful style.In the 1920s Norge flirted with the avant-garde, writing some loosely experimental plays (which were criticized by the Surrealists) and joining Raymond Rouleau in an experimental theatre group, Groupe Libre. Norge's good-natured irony became apparent in his early poems. The volume entitled Avenue du ciel (1929; "Avenue of Sky") shows the emergence of an individual talent that blossomed..
Marcel Thiry, (born March 13, 1897, Charleroi, Belgium--died September 5, 1977, Fraiture), Belgian poet, novelist, short-story writer, and essayist whose work reflects his experiences of foreign lands and cultures.Thiry volunteered for service during World War I. Francophilic and pro-Walloon, he was elected to the Belgian Parliament in 1968 representing the Rassemblement Wallon party. He became lifelong secretary of the Belgian Academy in 1960. Often sad or ruminative, his poetry blends modernism and nostalgia. Toi qui palis au nom de Vancouver: OEuvres poetiques, 1924-1974 (1975;..
Octave Pirmez, (born April 19, 1832, Chatelet, Belg.--died May 1, 1883, Acoz), one of the outstanding Belgian men of letters of the period immediately before the literary revival of the 1880s. His works consist primarily of collections of essays, letters, and literary discussions, e.g., Pensees et maximes (1862; "Thoughts and Maxims") and Heures de philosophie (1873; "Hours of Thought").A gentleman of private means, Pirmez led an uneventful life, interrupting the placid stays in his castle only for leisurely tours in France, Germany, and Italy. His temperament was retiring and reflective,..
Eugene Demolder, (born Dec. 16, 1862, Brussels, Belg.--died Oct. 8, 1919, Essonne, France), Belgian novelist, short-story writer, and art critic who was a member of the Jeune Belgique ("Young Belgium") literary renaissance of the late 19th century.Demolder trained as a lawyer, and his memoirs, Sous la robe (1897; "Under the Robe"), provide a record of the professional and cultural life of a class that was in the forefront of Belgian literary reform. His novels are noted for their ambience, and many of them are actually sequences of tableaux rather than coherent, linear narratives.In such..
Conrad Detrez, in full Conrad Jean Detrez, (born April 1, 1937, Roclenge-sur-Geer, Belgium--died February 12, 1985, Paris, France), Belgian novelist of political conscience and an energetic, darkly humorous style.Abandoning his theological studies at the Catholic University of Leuven (Louvain), Belgium, Detrez traveled to Brazil at age 24 and, while teaching French literature there, became involved in revolutionary politics. Deported by the Brazilian authorities, he went to Algeria and Portugal before settling in Paris in 1978. He became a French citizen in 1982.Detrez's first..
Christian Dotremont, (born December 12, 1922, Tervuren, Belgium--died August 20, 1979, Buizingen), Belgian poet and energetic cultural figure who is probably best known as one of the founders of the experimental art group, COBRA.Dotremont was influenced by late 1930s Belgian Surrealism. While in Paris during World War II, he cofounded the group La Main a Plume, coedited its publication, and began his own textual experiments. He returned to Belgium after the war, and he helped keep Surrealism alive there in such publications as Le Ciel Bleu ("The Blue Sky"). With the establishment of COBRA,..
Charles de Coster, in full Charles-Theodore-Henri de Coster, (born Aug. 20, 1827, Munich, Bavaria [Germany]--died May 7, 1879, Brussels, Belg.), Belgian novelist, writing in French, who stimulated Belgian national consciousness and prepared the ground for an original native literature.De Coster lived most of his life in poverty and obscurity and took 10 years to write his masterpiece, La Legende et les aventures heroiques, joyeuses, et glorieuses d'Ulenspiegel et de Lamme Goedzak au pays de Flandres et ailleurs (1867; The Glorious Adventures of Tyl Ulenspiegl). Freely adapting the..
Henry Bauchau, (born January 22, 1913, Mechelen, Belgium--died September 21, 2012, Louveciennes, France), Belgian novelist, poet, and playwright who was also a practicing psychoanalyst. Like his contemporary Dominique Rolin but unusually for a Belgian writer, Bauchau took his inspiration from psychoanalysis.Bauchau studied law and began writing for periodicals. After World War II he worked in publishing and founded a school in Switzerland. He published his first book, Geologie (1958; "Geology"), at age 45. This was followed by the play Gengis Khan (1960), which, like his later play..
Paul Nouge, (born February 13, 1895, Brussels, Belgium--died November 6, 1967, Brussels), Belgian poet and intellectual theorist. He and Rene Magritte were the most important figures in the Brussels group of Belgian Surrealists.Nouge, who was a biochemist by profession, first developed a wider intellectual audience in 1924 as a coeditor (with Camille Goemans and Marcel Lecomte) of the iconoclastic magazine Correspondance. In 1927 Nouge defined the Belgian Surrealist position, rejecting automatic writing (see automatism) in favour of "an ethic based on a psychology coloured by mysticism."..
Pierre Mertens, (born October 9, 1939, Brussels, Belgium), Belgian novelist known for his novels about crucial public events written chiefly in a bold, direct style free of textual and philosophical complexity.While maintaining a career as an international lawyer, Mertens became a prominent figure in Belgian literary life. His first novel, L'Inde ou l'Amerique (1969; "India or America"), recaptures memories of a disillusioned and alienated childhood, as does the more elaborate La Fete des anciens (1971; "The Feast of the Ancients"). An autobiographical tone also marks his short story..
Rene Kalisky, (born July 20, 1936, Brussels, Belgium--died May 2, 1981, Paris, France), Belgian writer of Polish descent who is best known for the plays he wrote in the last 12 years of his life.Kalisky, whose father was killed at Auschwitz, was himself hidden from harm during World War II. These wartime experiences enabled him to write powerfully on Jewish subjects. Though he wrote essays and journalism as well as plays, Kalisky's reputation rests mainly on his drama, which was modern and innovative, yet with classical tragic dimensions. Experimenting with ideas present in the work of Bertolt..
Suzanne Lilar, (born May 21, 1901, Ghent, Belgium--died December 11, 1992, Brussels), Belgian essayist, novelist, and playwright, the mother of the novelist Francoise Mallet-Joris. Applying a strong intellect to her work through precise language, she was a thoroughly modern writer who nonetheless remained highly versed in many areas of traditional thought.Lilar was of Flemish origins. She began her career as a playwright with Le Burlador (1945; The Burlador), a reworking of the Don Juan myth from the female perspective. She produced two more plays--Tous les chemins menent au ciel (1947;..
Charles Plisnier, (born December 13, 1896, Ghlin-les-Mons, Belgium--died July 17, 1952, Brussels), Belgian novelist, short-story writer, poet, and essayist noted for his intense, analytical writing.Plisnier was active in leftist politics in his youth. Although trained as a lawyer, he wrote for several left-wing periodicals until he was ejected from the Communist Party he had helped to found. After disavowing communism, he became a Roman Catholic and turned to literature, establishing his reputation with family sagas notable for their sustained critique of bourgeois society. Mariages..
Jean Ray, pseudonym of Jean Raymond Marie De Kremer, also published under the pseudonym John Flanders, (born July 8, 1887, Ghent, Belgium--died September 17, 1964, Ghent), Belgian novelist, short-story writer, and journalist who is known for his crime fiction and narratives of horror and the fantastic in both French and Flemish (Dutch).De Kremer worked as a city employee, from 1910 to 1919, before working as a journalist (1919-40). He began to publish fiction in 1925, with the short-story collection, Les Contes du whisky (1925; "Whisky's Tales"). This collection reveals his characteristic..
Paul Willems, (born April 4, 1912, Edegem, Belgium--died November 29, 1997, Zoersel), Belgian novelist and playwright whose playful strategies and fascination with language, doubles, analogies, and mirror images mask a modern tragic sensibility. He expressed the identity crisis of postwar Belgium in an idiosyncratic and often savagely ironic style.Willems was the son of the Belgian writer Marie Gevers, and he grew up on his family's estate near Antwerp in a river and coastal setting whose influence can be felt in his work. A francophone Flemish writer like his mother before him, Willems..
Francoise Mallet-Joris, pseudonym of Francoise-Eugenie-Julienne Lilar, (born July 6, 1930, Antwerp, Belgium--died August 13, 2016, Bry-sur-Marne, France), Belgian author, of French nationality by marriage, one of the leading contemporary exponents of the traditional French novel of psychological love analysis.She was born Francoise-Eugenie-Julienne Lilar; her father was a statesman, and her mother, Suzanne Lilar, was an author and a critic. She later adopted the pen name Francoise Mallet-Joris, and at age 19 she won unanimous critical approval with her novel Le Rempart des beguines..
Dominique Rolin, (born May 22, 1913, Brussels, Belgium--died May 15, 2012, Paris, France), Belgian novelist noted for embracing new narrative techniques. Author of more than 30 books in 50 years, Rolin produced a body of fiction that centres on the themes of birth, death, family, and physical dislocation.Between 1942 and 1946, influenced by German Romanticism, Rolin published three novels about family life. She settled in France in 1946. From 1948 to 1958 she developed a measured, intellectualized, Francocentric approach to the family theme. Moi qui ne suis qu'amour (1948; "I Who Am But..
Andre Baillon, (born April 27, 1875, Antwerp, Belgium--died April 10, 1932, St. Germain-en-Laye, France), Belgian novelist whose ironic and clear-eyed works signaled a change in the direction of Belgian literature.Born into a bourgeois home, Baillon was reared by an aunt after the death of his parents and was educated in Roman Catholic schools. Withdrawn and prone to nervous instability, he took up gambling as a young man and became obsessed with suicidal thoughts. This obsession abated somewhat when he met and, in 1902, married Marie Vandenberghe, a former prostitute. He tried various..