ISBN: 9781903517826 Categories: , ,

Temporarily out of stock

Bruges-la-Morte, which first appeared in 1892, concerns the fate of Hugues Viane, a widower who has turned to the melancholy, decaying city of Bruges as the ideal location in which to mourn his wife and as a suitable haven for the narcissistic perambulations of his inexorably disturbed spirit. Bruges, the 'dead city', becomes the image of his dead wife and thus allows him to endure, to manage the unbearable loss by systematically following its mournful labyrinth of streets and canals in a cyclical promenade of reflection and allusion. The story itself centres around Hugues' obsession with a young dancer whom he believes is the double of his beloved wife. The consequent drama leads Hugues onto a plank walk of psychological torment and humiliation, culminating in a deranged murder. This is a poet's novel and is therefore metaphorically dense and visionary in style. It is the ultimate evocation of Rodenbach's lifelong love affair with the enduring mystery and haunting mortuary atmosphere of Bruges.

Georges Rodenbach (1855-1898) born in Tournai, spent most of his time in Ghent and later Paris where like his childhood friend and Flemish compatriot Emile Verhaeren, he rubbed shoulders with all the main players of the symbolist fin de siecle. But Rodenbach is forever associated with Bruges, the location for his most celebrated and enduring work. He also wrote a number of collections of poetry of which 'Le Regne du silence' from 1891 in many ways prefigures Bruges-La-Morte. A further novel 'Le Carilloneur' 1897 is also set in Bruges. Several books of short stories, prose poems, and a range of essays on figures such as Rodin, Monet, Huysmans, Verlaine and Mallarme attest to a prodigious talent. Rodenbach was a typical artist of the decadent period, unfailingly anti-bourgeois, solitary, an aesthete suffering some undisclosed malady of the spirit, a palpable ennui or spleen. But Rodenbach was very much a modern poet too and his precise, delicate, yet existentially muscular poems are still of much relevance today.

ISBN: 9781903517826
Format: Paperback
Publication date: 01/06/2005
RRP: $24.99
Pages: 166
Dimension: 198mm X 126mm
Imprint: Dedalus Limited