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Chapter 9 - Belgium

from Part II - Nations and Voices

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 January 2023

Jane Potter
Affiliation:
Oxford Brookes University
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Summary

Belgium was a casus belli for the Great War in 1914 and its post-war fate was part of president Wilson’s Fourteen Points, yet there is no such thing as a Belgian canon of First World War poetry. Famous civilian poets like Émile Verhaeren were hailed in Allied propaganda, but their wartime verse is largely forgotten. Poems written in Flemish (a local variant of Dutch) are hardly ever read in the Francophone part of the country. The war and many of the Flemish poems written about it testify of a gradual crumbling of Belgian unity. Paul van Ostaijen’s 1921 Bezette Stad (Occupied City, also translated into English, French and German) is a powerful example of avant-garde typography but it is also a testament to the radical Flemish activists who, during the course of the war, started to despise their native Belgium even more than they did the German occupier. Those wounds have never really healed.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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  • Belgium
  • Edited by Jane Potter, Oxford Brookes University
  • Book: A History of World War One Poetry
  • Online publication: 18 January 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009120098.010
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  • Belgium
  • Edited by Jane Potter, Oxford Brookes University
  • Book: A History of World War One Poetry
  • Online publication: 18 January 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009120098.010
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Belgium
  • Edited by Jane Potter, Oxford Brookes University
  • Book: A History of World War One Poetry
  • Online publication: 18 January 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009120098.010
Available formats
×