Van Beers, Jan
VAN BEERS, JAN (1821-1888), Belgian poet, usually called ' the elder " to distinguish him from his son, Jan van Beers, :he well-known painter, was born at Antwerp on the 22nd of February 1821. He was essentially a Netherlander, though iolitically a Belgian, expressing his thoughts in the same anguage as any North Netherland writer. In fact, the poems of Jan van Beers are perhaps more popular in Holland than n Belgium, and of many of them there exist more editions printed in Holland than in his political fatherland. Van Beers tarted life as a teacher of Dutch language and literature, first at Malines, then at Lierre, and in 1860 was appointed a professor of both at the Athenaeum (high school) in Antwerp, where le had also been a sub-librarian in the communal library.
Van Beers as a teacher was early in the field, with Hendrik 'onscience, Willems and others, when the Flemish movement >egan. He composed a Dutch grammar (1852), which, in enlarged editions, still holds the field, and a volume of selections rom Dutch authors, both books being so much appreciated hat the Belgian government made them text-books in the mblic schools. Van Beers's historical poems, the principal of which is, perhaps, Jakob Van Maerlant (Amsterdam, 1860), helped the Flemish revival in Belgium as powerfully as his school-books. He is best known, however, as the writer of ballads and songs. J ' ongdingsdroomen (" A Young Man's Dreams ") first appeared at Antwerp and Amsterdam in 1853. These poems were followed by Levensbedden (" Life Figures or Pictures," Amsterdam, 1858) and by Gevoel en Leven (" Feeling Living," Amsterdam, 1861). His Rijzende Bidden (" Rising Leaves ") first made its appearance at Ghent and Rotterdam in 1883. In the following year an edition de luxe of his poetry was published, adorned with pen-and-ink sketches by Jan van Beers the younger, and a popular edition of his collected poems was published at Ghent and Rotterdam in 1873 and 1884. Among the best known are De Blinde (" Blind "), De Zieke Jongding (" Young and Doomed "), Bij 't Kerkportaal ("At the Church Porch"). Van Beers's poetry, full of glow and pathos, simple yet forcible, is somewhat akin to that of Longfellow. Van Beers died at Antwerp on the 14th of November 1888.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)