Belgium French Language Literature
After the Second World War the Belgian novel is so diversified that it becomes impossible to enumerate all its tendencies: there is a return to the regionalist novel with J.-P. Otte, G. Deblander, H. Juin, R. Hénoumont; bourgeois society finds meticulous painters or bitter detractors in A. Ayguesparse and D. Gillès; the fantastic genre continues with Th. Owen, M. Thiry, G. Prevot, J. Muno, J.-B. Baronian, G. Vaes; the Nouveau Roman instead influences D. Rolin, author among other things of For intérieur (1962) and Gâteau des morts (1982), J.-G. Linze (La conquête de Prague, 1965), Belgium Beck, E. Savitzkaya and also the first books of P. Mertens. But in parallel with the affirmation of political concerns and the ambition to be a ‘witness of one’s own time’, Mertens has seen a progressive return to a more linear composition (Terre d’asile, 1978; Les éblouissements, 1987). For Belgium religion and languages, please check ezinereligion.com.
At the same time, many writers remain faithful to the classical psychological novel: G. Thinès, Ch. Bertin, F. Mallet-Joris, S. d’Otremont, F. Walder, H. Bauchau. The existential revolt draws, in the barbaric, panic, often provocative writing of M. Moreau and G. Compère, a truly mythical dimension. C. Detrez (1937-85) tries to reconcile his political commitment and his Christianity with the demands of sensuality in a hallucinatory work (L’herbe à brûler, 1978), while M. Frère, L. Dubrau, J. Henrard and others explore the human heart with clarity or delicacy. We should also not forget those writers who have allowed themselves to be tempted by other horizons: H. Cornelus, J.-A. Lacour, A. Curvers, Ch. Paron. Since 1970 a new generation of novelists has emerged such as F. Dannemark, T. Barboni, P. Emond, Belgium Gheur, F. Lalande, J.-C. Pirotte and many others. But the greatest contemporary Belgian writer, the most famous and the best-selling remains G. Simenon (1903-1989).
In the field of poetry, after the generation of La jeune Belgique and La Wallonie, we witness the crumbling of the great traditional currents and the multiplication of cenacles and groups. New magazines such as Résurrection, Le disque vert, Correspondance, La renaissance d’Occident, Le journal des poètes see the light . Surrealism is represented by the Groupe de Bruxelles (P. Nougé, M. Lecomte, L. Scutenaire, Mesens) and the Groupe du Hainaut, animated by A. Chavée and F. Dumont. An entire generation of poets is marked by surrealism: J. de Bosschère, R. Guiette, E. de Hauleville, P. Neuhuys, E. Moerman and above all H. Michaux (1899-1984), author of a vast work in which real and imaginary come together in a flourishing of dazzling images, of rhythmic and verbal inventions.
At the same time other currents develop: the so-called ‘classical’ one represented by O.-J. Perier and A. Marin; that of the great operas: R. Vivier, Ch. Plis nier, E. Vandercammen; that of the innovators, fascinated by the modern world, who strive to translate into new languages and rhythms: M. Thiry, R. Goffin, G. Linze. Next to them GM Norge stands out for a cheerful and full-bodied poem, which mixes tenderness and irony; G. Libbrecht (1891-1976) pursues a metaphysical research in a lapidary language free of any heaviness and any eloquence; more superficial the work of M. Carême (1899-1978), who tirelessly celebrates the love of nature and the happiness of existing, not without making a shadow of disquiet appear here and there.
After the Second World War, classical poetry retains many faithful: J. Tordeur, J. Mogin, A. Sodenkamp, R. Foulon, L. Wouters, L. Des noues, A.-M. Kegels, R. Bodart, J. Moulin, G. Prévot. But alongside this neoclassical current various movements develop, which aim to break with traditional aesthetics and themes: Phantomas, Temps mêlés, Daily Bul. P. Della Faille and A. Miguel opt for a writing renewed by numerous phonetic games and unusual lexical combinations. J. Izoard’s work stands out for its sobriety, its elliptical gait, its surprising conciseness; that of J. Crickillon for the sumptuousness, the verbal research, the torrential rhythm. Among the representatives of the new generation we should mention again M. Joiret, Ch. Hubin, M. Stavaux; some like W. Lambersy go as far as dissection, the decomposition of language; others renew the verse or prose poem. The aggressive realism of W. Cliff, the verbal truculence of Puttemans or Verheggen is opposed by the utter subtlety of A. Doms, A. Schmitz or S. Meurant; to the intellectualism of F. Delcarte and C.-A. Magnes the wise or brutal sensuality of L. Spède and E. Savitzkaya. The expression becomes more and more hermetic in the last few levers (Dannemark, F. De Haes, Rotschild, J. Daive), often completely oblivious to the syntax.
After the Second World War the theater is dominated by authors of proven talent: G. Sion, M.-Th. Bodart, S. Lilar, Ch. Bertin, J. Mogin. Theater of ideas opposed by the poetic féeries of P. Willems (Il pleut dans ma maison, 1963), the comedies of F. Marceau (L’oeuf, 1956) and the attempts to renew traditional dramaturgical forms: the pièces of J Sigrid (Mort d’une souris, 1968), by L. Wouters (Vies et morts de Mlle Shakespeare, 1979), by R. Kalisky (La passion selon Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1977). J. Louvet practices political theater, sometimes heavily didactic in tone (Le train du bon Dieu, 1960); P. Vrebos, on the other hand, indulges in an unbridled fantasy (Cyclochoc, 1975).