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Émile Verhaeren   By: (1881-1942)

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EMILE VERHAEREN

BY

STEFAN ZWEIG

LONDON

CONSTABLE AND COMPANY LTD

1914

[Illustration: Émile Verhaeren from an unpublished photograph by Charles Bernier, 1914.]

PREFACE

Four years have passed since the present volume appeared simultaneously in German and French. In the meantime Verhaeren's fame has been spreading; but in English speaking countries he is still not so well known as he deserves to be.

Something of his philosophy if it may be called philosophy rather than a poet's inspired visualising of the world has passed into the public consciousness in a grotesquely distorted form in what is known as 'futurism.' So long as futurism is associated with those who have acquired a facile notoriety by polluting the pure idea, it would be an insult to Verhaeren to suggest that he is to be classed with the futurists commonly so called; but the whole purpose of the present volume will prove that the gospel of a very serious and reasoned futurism is to be found in Verhaeren's writings.

Of the writer of the book it may be said that there was no one more fitted than he to write the authentic exposition of the teaching which he has hailed as a new religion. His relations to the Master are not only those of a fervent disciple, but of an apostle whose labour of love has in German speaking lands and beyond been crowned with signal success. Himself a lyrist of distinction, Stefan Zweig has accomplished the difficult feat, which in this country still waits to be done, of translating the great mass of Verhaeren's poems into actual and enduring verse. Another book of his on Verlaine is already known in an English rendering; so that he bids fair to become known in this country as one of the most gifted of the writers of Young Vienna.

As to the translation, I have endeavoured to be faithful to my text, which is the expression of a personality. Whatever divergences there are have been necessitated by the lapse of time. For help in reading the proofs I have to thank Mr. M.T.H. Sadler and Mr. Fritz Voigt.

J. BITHELL.

HAMMERFIELD, Nr . HEMEL HEMPSTEAD, 14 th July 1914.

CONTENTS

PART I

THE NEW AGE THE NEW BELGIUM YOUTH IN FLANDERS 'LES FLAMANDES' THE MONKS THE BREAK DOWN FLIGHT INTO THE WORLD

PART II

TOWNS ('LES VILLES TENTACULAIRES') THE MULTITUDE THE RHYTHM OF LIFE THE NEW PATHOS VERHAEREN'S POETIC METHOD VERHAEREN'S DRAMA

PART III

COSMIC POETRY THE LYRIC UNIVERSE SYNTHESES THE ETHICS OF FERVOUR LOVE THE ART OF VERHAEREN'S LIFE THE EUROPEAN IMPORTANCE OF HIS WORK

BIBLIOGRAPHY INDEX

PART I

DECIDING FORCES

ES FLAMANDES LES MOINES LES SOIRS LES

DÉBâCLES LES FLAMBEAUX NOIRS AU BORD DE

LA ROUTE LES APPARUS DANS MES CHEMINS

1883 1893

Son tempérament, son caractère, sa vie, tout conspire à nous montrer son art tel que nous avons essayé de le définir. Une profonde unité les scelle. Et n'est ce pas vers la découverte de cette unité là, qui groupe en un faisceau solide les gestes, les pensées et les travaux d'un génie sur la terre, que la critique, revenue enfin de tant d'erreurs, devait tendre uniquement?

VERHAEREN, Rembrandt.

THE NEW AGE

Tout bouge et l'on dirait les horizons en marche. É.V., 'La Foule.'

The feeling of this age of ours, of this our moment in eternity, is different in its conception of life from that of our ancestors. Only eternal earth has changed not nor grown older, that field, gloomed by the Unknown, on which the monotonous light of the seasons divides, in a rhythmic round, the time of blossoms and of their withering; changeless only are the action of the elements and the restless alternation of night and day. But the aspect of earth's spirit has changed, all that is subjected to the toil of man... Continue reading book >>




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