Charles Plisnier (December 13, 1896 - July 17, 1952)
Born: 13th December, 1896
Died: 17th July, 1952
Nationality: Belgian author
Region: Belgium, Brussels
Notable works: "Memoirs of a Secret Revolutionary"

Charles Plisnier Facts

Biography

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 (1936; Nothing to Chance) deals with the limitations of social conventions; the five-volume Meurtres (1939-41; "Murders") centres on an idealistic tragic hero, Noel Annequin, in his fight against hypocrisy; and the three-volume Meres (1946-49; "Mothers") represents a search for order and redemption.

Vivid and challenging if sometimes loose in style, his fiction conveys a deep moral and psychological sense in its studies of individual crisis. The novel L'Enfant aux stigmates (1931; "The Child With Stigmata") recalls the fatalistic mood of Maurice Maeterlinck. Plisnier won the Prix Goncourt for Faux passeports (1937; Memoirs of a Secret Revolutionary) and was the first non-French writer to do so. This set of five novellas about disillusioned militants uses one of his favourite techniques: a first-person witness as a screen between hero and reader. Plisnier's shorter works, such as Figures detruites (1932; "Destroyed Figures"), Beaute des laides (1951; "The Beauty of Ugly Women"), and Folies douces (1952; "Sheer Madnesses"), often surpasses his epic fiction in intensity.

Plisnier's heartfelt poetry is at least the equal of his fiction. His early work shows his struggle to reconcile politics and religion, as in Priere aux mains coupees (1930; "Prayer With Severed Hands"), and includes a flirtation with Surrealism, in Fertilite du desert (1933; "Fertility of the Desert"). With Odes pour retrouver les hommes (1935; "Odes to Meet Again With Men") Plisnier began a movement back to Christianity and conventional poetry that he continues in Sacre (1938; "Holy" or "Sacred") and Ave Genitrix (1943; "Hail Mother"). His essays range in content from revolutionary mysticism to constitutional reform.

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