Coster, Charles de

Coster, Charles de:

see De Coster, CharlesDe Coster, Charles Théodore Henri
, 1827–79, Belgian author, b. Munich. His collected legends from Flemish folklore (1857), written in old French style, gained him note as a medievalist.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Coster, Charles De


Born Aug. 20, 1827, in Munich; died May 7, 1879, in Ixelles. Belgian writer. Wrote in French.

Coster was born into the family of the secretary to a papal nuncio but lived his entire life in poverty. He graduated from the University of Brussels in 1855. In 1856 he founded the weekly Ulenspiegel, which in the 1860’s became the mouthpiece of the country’s progressive forces. The collections Flemish Legends (1858) and Brabantine Stories (1861) are evidence of Coster’s interest in Belgium’s historical past and in the creative work of the people.

Coster’s main work—The Legend and the Heroic, Pleasant, and Glorious Adventures of Ulenspiegel and Lamme Goedzak in Flanders and Elsewhere (1867)—appeared during the intensification of the political struggle in Belgium and the rise of the mass workers’ movement in Europe. Its plot is set in the 16th century, the age of the Dutch bourgeois revolution and the struggle against the Spanish oppressors and the Catholic Church. It is a vivid canvas exhibiting the heroic spirit of the national struggle and pictures of the peaceful life of a flourishing Flanders. Personal fates and the fate of the people are closely interwoven in a uniquely original narrative. The popular quality of this work, an epopee and a narrative poem, the real “bible of Belgium,” is expressed not only in the extensive use of folklore and in the true folk characters but also in the very revolutionary enthusiasm of the patriot-gueux and in the violent outburst of anger of the masses, who arose in defense of their homeland and freedom. The Legend retains its significance even today as an apotheosis of freedom. It opened the way to realism for Belgian literature. Coster also wrote the psychological novel The Wedding Trip (1872), the historical drama Stephanie (1878), and sketches on travels to Zeeland, Holland, and Amsterdam.


In Russian translation:
Flamandskie legendy. Berlin, 1923.
Legenda ob Ulenshpigele . … Introduction by E. Gal’perina. Moscow, 1955.
Legenda ob Ulenshpigele . … Moscow, 1961.


Gorky, M. O literature. Moscow, 1961. Pages 422-23, 427.
Rolland, R. “Ulenshpigel’.” Sobr. soch., vol. 14. Moscow, 1958.
Mitskevich, B. P. Sh. De Koster i stanovlenie realizma v bel’giiskoi literature. Minsk, 1960.
Andreev, L. G. Sto let bel’giiskoi literatury. [Moscow] 1967.
Litvinov, P. V. “Khudozhestvennaia letopis’ Niderlandskoi revoliutsii i ee avtor.” Voprosy istorii, 1971, no. 7.
Sh. de Koster: Biobibliografich. ukazatel’. Moscow, 1964.
Hanse, J. Charles de Coster. Louvain, 1928.
Sosset, L. L. Introduction à I’oeuvre de Ch. de Coster. Brussels-Liege, 1937.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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