Born Jan. 7, 1858, in Brussels; died there in September 1924. Belgian poet; wrote in French. Member of the literary association Young Belgium.
In his long narrative poems Damnation of the Artist (1890) and Shadows (1892) and in his collection of poems Night (1897), Gilkin complained of the decay of bourgeois society, seeking an answer to “accursed questions” by learning the secrets of the “other world.” His retreat from reality and spiritual crisis culminated in a religious conversion. He re-assessed worldly and historical subjects in a spirit of submission to fate—for example, the dramatic poems Prometheus (1899) and The Sphinx (1923) and his historical dramas in the Shakespearian manner dealing with Savonarola, Egmont, and Tsar Nicholas II, all of whom Gilkin considered “victims of history.”
WORKSIn Russian translation:
Molodaia Bel’giia. A collection edited by M. Veselovskaia. [Moscow, 1908.]
In Noch’: Izbrannye stikhotvoreniia. Moscow, 1911.
REFERENCESAndreev, L. G. Sto let bel’giiskoi literatury. [Moscow] 1967.
Liebrecht, H. Iwan Gilkin. Brussels, 1941.