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Definition: Maeterlinck, Maurice from Philip's Encyclopedia

Belgian playwright. His plays include The Princess Maleine (1889) and The Blue Bird (1908), first produced in Moscow by Stanislavsky. Maeterlinck received the 1911 Nobel Prize in literature.

Summary Article: Maeterlinck, Maurice Polydore Marie Bernard
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Belgian poet and dramatist. His plays include Pelléas et Mélisande (1892) (on which Debussy based his opera), L'Oiseau bleu/The Blue Bird (1908), and Le Bourgmestre de Stilmonde/ The Burgomaster of Stilemonde (1918). This last celebrates Belgian resistance in World War I, a subject that led to his exile in the USA in 1940. His philosophical essays include ‘Le Trésor des humbles/The Treasure of the Humble’ (1896) and ‘La vie des abeilles/The Life of the Bee’ (1901). He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1911.

He was born in Ghent and went to Paris at the age of 25, where he came into contact with the French and Belgian Symbolists, including Philippe Villiers de l'Isle Adam, Emile Verhaeren, and Georges Rodenbach, whose ideals won his sympathy and support. The volume of verse entitled Serres chaudes/Warm Hothouses appeared 1889; the play La Princesse Maleine/Princess Maleine later the same year. The latter made Maeterlinck famous overnight and reveals the symbolism and atmospheric ‘mystery’ that characterized his entire work. Although much of his work now appears facile, he attempted to create an ‘interior’ drama which would communicate, or at least suggest, the deepest mysteries of the soul and the universe.


Maeterlinck, Maurice Polydore Marie Bernard

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