Fin-de-Siecle Belgium
December 3, 2004 12:31 PM   Subscribe

I want to learn as much as I can about life in fin-de-siècle Belgium as I can, particularly from primary sources, art, music, and literature. What would you all recommend?
posted by Sticherbeast to Society & Culture (6 answers total)
which siecle?
posted by ParisParamus at 12:49 PM on December 3, 2004

The end of the 19th century, if you please.
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:07 PM on December 3, 2004

The Victor Horta Museum and the Comic Strip Museum (also designed by Horta) are excellent places from that period.
posted by sixpack at 1:38 PM on December 3, 2004

With respect to visual art, there's a pretty good book Impressionism to Symbolism: The Belgian Avant Garde 1880-1900 which was published by the Royal Academy (London) in 1994 to accompany an exhibition there: I daresay it's out-of-print, but it looks like there's one copy on abebooks going for a tenner. If you can't get a hold of it otherwise, I could loan you my copy.

Literaturewise, why not start (for the Symbolist stuff, anyway) with Rodenbach's Bruges-la-Morte & Maeterlinck's Pelléas et Mélisande.

The only Belgian musical figure I can think of from that era is Eugène Ysaÿe.
posted by misteraitch at 1:39 PM on December 3, 2004

I can't recommend any Belgium-specific resources, but if you are interested in background reading on the period, the best book I know of on fin-de-siecle Europe is Carl Schorske's Fin-de-siecle Vienna: Politics and Culture. It focuses on Vienna and the Hapsburg empire, but Schorske's analysis is relevant to Europe writ large, and it's an ideal way to get a sense of the temper of the times. Elaine Showalter's Sexual Anarchy: Gender and Culture at the Fin de Siecle might also be helpful.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 2:07 PM on December 3, 2004

actually, there's going to be a giant Belgian Art Nouveau exhibit next year in Brussels.

Van De Velde was a big name during that time too, along with Horta.
posted by amberglow at 2:46 PM on December 3, 2004

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