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Book Title: Bruges-la-Morte|
Date of issue: 1998
ISBN 13: 9782080710116
The author of the book: Georges Rodenbach
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 957 KB
Read full description of the books Bruges-la-Morte:My real trip to Bruges took place when I got home after visiting the actual city, when I gathered enough momentum to submit to Rodenbach’s pulsating testimony of the kind of beauty that can only be found in death, like one can sense in certain places such as the somber cathedrals, the towering belfries, the pebbled alleys and greyish quays that compose the skeleton of Bruges, once a decadent city brought back to life by the refined pen of a Symbolist’s contemplation.
Hugues Viane is a disconsolate widower who has found a matchless companion in the lonely melancholy of Bruges, a city whose glorious days of trade have waned into a suffocating atmosphere of religious conservatism. Haunted by memories of his deceased wife, Viane roams the streets of Bruges in silent conversation with its canals, chiming bells and austere convents, absorbed by his inexhaustible despair until he crosses paths with Jane, a young actress who bears a strong resemblance with his beloved. Spurred by his mysterious connection with the dormant city, Viane indulges in a deranged fantasy that takes him into a downward spiral towards a climatic ending that explores the link between death, conscience and grief.
Rodenbach’s evocation of Bruges is more than an attempt to paint an accurate landscape for Hugues’ mourning but a deliberate effort to thread a perturbing analogy between the city and the states of mind of a man lost in the morbid eroticism of venerating a dead woman in a living corpse. Bruges becomes the mute narrator and the ultimate protagonist of the story, Hugues the mirror that refracts it to the reader and Jane, a grotesque object disguised as femme fatale that gives a Gothic touch to the outcome of the novel.
Tragedy can already be anticipated in the opening paragraph, but plotline is totally superfluous in this case. It’s the stylistic delivery of foretold events merging with the internalized perceptions of its main character that makes this book a chilling but strangely delicate experience, that creates the impression of a pagan ritual branded in darkly sensuous poetry that tempts and hypnotizes the reader, leaving him helpless and levitating in suspended tension, in the ache of pleasure momentarily achieved but never truly possessed.
I recently took a stroll around the medieval alleys of Bruges, crossed its bridges and admired the quays, over-brimming with waves of tourists and pearly white swans, but it was through Rodenbach’s aesthetic vision that I finally met the true soul of this town in all its withered splendor and somber beauty of past blending with present, of introspective art fused with metaphorical precision.
Read information about the authorGeorges Rodenbach was born in Tournai to a French mother and a German father from the Rhineland (Andernach). He went to school in Ghent at the prestigious Sint-Barbaracollege, where he became friends with the poet Emile Verhaeren. Rodenbach worked as a lawyer and journalist. He spent the last ten years of his life in Paris as the correspondent of the Journal de Bruxelles, and was an intimate of Edmond de Goncourt. He published eight collections of verse and four novels, as well as short stories, stage works and criticism. He produced some Parisian and purely imitative work; but a major part of his production is the outcome of a passionate idealism of the quiet Flemish towns in which he had passed his childhood and early youth. In his best known work, Bruges-la-Morte (1892), he explains that his aim is to evoke the town as a living being, associated with the moods of the spirit, counselling, dissuading from and prompting action. Bruges-la-Morte was used by the composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold as the basis for his opera Die Tote Stadt. Albrecht Rodenbach, his cousin, was a poet and novelist as well, and a leader in the revival of Flemish literature of the 19th century.
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