Émile Verhaeren

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Verhaeren, Émile


Born May 21, 1855, in Saint-Amand, near Antwerp; died Nov. 27, 1916, in Rouen. Belgian poet, dramatist, and critic who wrote in French.

Verhaeren graduated from the faculty of law at Louvain and worked as a lawyer. His first book of poems, The Flemish, which was devoted to the subject of rural Flanders, was published in 1883. The optimistic mood of the book was mingled with the motif of the artist humanist’s anxiety at the ugliness in human relationships, even in the rural world. In the collection of verses The Monks (1886) he created stylized portraits of medieval monks.

The years 1887-90 were a period of spiritual crisis for Verhaeren. The collections Evenings (1887), Disasters (1888), The Black Torches (1890), which are close to decadent poetry, reflect a tragic view of life. In the collection Delusive Fields (1893), Verhaeren described social developments, striving to comprehend the absorption of the patriarchal village by the capitalist town. The anthology Tentacled Towns (1895) uses the image of a town as the focal point of social contrasts. Verhaeren wrote of national insurrection and revolutionary anger as constructive forces. The play Dawns (1898; Russian translation, 1907) is his most brilliant creation as a playwright, expressing the dream of the brotherhood of the workers of all countries and the dream of social revolution.

In the collections Faces of Life (1899), Tumultuous Forces (1902), Manifold Splendor (1906), and Ruling Rhythms (1910), Verhaeren tried to embody in his poetry all the diversity of human creativity, and he glorified art, love, and daring. During World War I he wrote patriotic verse with nationalistic elements (the collection The Red Wings of War, 1916).

Verhaeren also wrote critical works on great painters (Rembrandt, 1904, and Rubens, 1910), writers (Shakespeare, Racine, and Hugo), and the French and Belgian symbolists. Collections of his poems were published in Russia from 1906 (Contemporary Poems) in translations by A. A. Blok, V. Ia. Briusov, M. A. Voloshin, G. A. Shengeli, and others.


Oeuvres, vols. 1-11. Paris, 1912-33.
In Russian translation:
Dramy i Proza. Moscow, 1936.
Izbrannoe. Introductory article by N. Rykova. Moscow, 1955.


Lunacharskii, A. V. O teatre i dramaturgii, vol. 1. Moscow, 1958. Pages 227-28, 765.
Centenaire de Verhaeren. Brussels, 1955.
“Émile Verhaeren: Poète et prophète du monde moderne.” Rencontres (La Louvière), 1966, no. 4 (special number).
Culot, J.-M. Bibliographie de É. Verhaeren. Brussels, 1954.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
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Emile Verhaeren (1855-1916) was a Flemish symbolist author writing in French.
In his later years, Belgian art critic and poet Emile Verhaeren (1855-1916) produced a large body of writings on the arts of the Northern Renaissance by such figures as Rembrandt, Rubens, Memling, Bruegel, and Grunewald in Flanders, Holland, and Germany in the 16th and 17th centuries.
d'Annunzio, les belges Emile Verhaeren, Maurice Maeterlinck et Georges Rodenbach, outre Rene Ghil qui est egalement d'origine belge, les americains Stuart Merril et Francis Viele-Griffin, le polonais Teodor de Wyzewa, (25) figurent parmi ceux qui a l'epoque ont joue un role conscient et decisif au sein du mouvement a Paris.
Una especie de odi et amo, que tambien puede rastrearse en otros autores contemporaneos, como el caso de los hermanos Machado, Unamuno o el mismo Benavente pero que en su caso adquiere una mayor relevancia por sus conexiones e interferencias con el mundo del esperpento y, en ultima instancia, con la tradicion estetica de la que se nutre el mismo Valle: la Espana Negra de Noel, Gutierrez Solana, Zuloaga, Regoyos o Verhaeren (Lozano Marco, 1997).
Yeats; the French authors Anatole France, Camille Pelletan, and Camille Mauclair; the Belgian poet Emile Verhaeren; the German-language authors Gerhart Hauptmann and Levin Schucking, and the appearance of Constance Garnett's translations of the Russians Tolstoy, Dostoevsky and Chekhov--all in this English monthly review.
If one considers the literary production of the period, it is true that many writers such as Maurice Maeterlinck, Emile Verhaeren or Georges Rodenbach, who were Flemish but wrote in French, loosely adhered to this cultural agenda and developed a Belgian literary canon that became abroad, and particularly in Paris, the most obvious manifestation of Belgian authenticity.
If a marginalia edition had been done before 1953--the year when Maria Aliete Galhoz put together the first official partial list of Pessoa's personal library--we would know which passages had caught Pessoa's attention from Chesterton's George Bernard Shaw, which verses were privileged in the case of Emile Verhaeren or what annotations had been prompted by Wells's The Food of the Gods--books that today I have not been able to track down.
Other notable translations from the French at this time include Maurice de Guerin's Le Centaure and, in 1913-14, Andre Gide's Le Retour de l'enfant prodigue, as well as a number of poems by Verlaine, Verhaeren, de Noailles, and Mallarme in the years up to 1919.
V." (SW 6:1111) who is generally assumed to be the Flemish poet Emile Verhaeren (1855-1916), one of Rilke's Paris friends.