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Verhaeren

VERHAEREN, fiMILE (1855- ), Belgian poet, was born at Saint-Amand, near Antwerp, on the 21st of May 1855. He was sent to school at Ghent, where he formed a friendship with Georges Rodenbach. He studied at the university of Louvain, and there started a journal, La Semaine, which he edited in conjunction with the operatic singer Van Dyck. La Semaine was suppressed by the authorities, as was its successor, Le Type, in which Verhaeren had as fellow- workers Max Waller, Iwan Gilkin and Albert Giraud. In 1881 he was admitted to the bar at Brussels, but he soon devoted his whole energies to literature, and especially to the organs of " young Belgium," La Jeune Belgique and UArt moderne, making himself especially the champion of the impressionist painters. Verhaeren learnt his art of poetry from the great Flemish artists, and in his early robust works, Les Flamandes (1883) and Les Moines (1886), he displays similar qualities of strength, sometimes degenerating into violence. A period of physical weakness followed, translated into terms of poetry in three volumes of verse, Les Soirs (1887), Les Debacles (1888) and Les Flambeaux noirs (1889). Au bord de la route (1890) and Les Apparus dans mes chemins (1891) followed. Verhaeren then passed from applying his pictorial method to psychological studies to the task of individualizing the towns, villages and fields of his native country, the first outcome being his Campagnes hallucinees (1893). In Villages illusoires he describes the tragedy of the fields and farms deserted by the people in their race to the towns, and in Les Villes tentaculaires (1895) the great industrial centres devouring the surrounding country. Later volumes of poems are Les Heures claires (1896), Les Visages de la vie (1899), Les P elites Legendes (1900), Les Forces tumullueuses (1901); Les Tendresses premieres (1904). In 1898 he wrote a lyric drama Les Aubes, in 1900 a four-act piece Le Cloitre, represented both in Brussels and Paris, and in 1901 a historical drama Philippe II.

The poems of fimile Verhaeren were translated into English by Alma Strettel (1899); and Les Aubes by Mr Arthur Symons (1898). A long list of articles dealing with Verhaeren is to be found in Poetes d'Aujourd'hui (1900) of A. van Bever and Paul Leautaud.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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