Michel De Ghelderode
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
One of the greatest literary figures in Belgian history was eccentric playwright Michel De Ghelderode, a true visionary whose folkish morality plays and stories resonated with Hieronymus Bosch-like humor and fantasy. Magie Rouge [Red Magic] (1934) and La Ballade du Grand Macabre [The Ballad Of The Great Macabre] (1935) brought to life the macabre tradition of Flemish culture.
A prolific writer, he wrote more than sixty plays, a hundred stories, a number of articles on art and folklore and more than 20,000 letters. He is the creator of a fantastic and disturbing, often macabre, grotesque and cruel world filled with mannequins, puppets, devils, masks, skeletons, religious paraphernalia, mysterious old women... etc. His works create an eerie and unsettling atmosphere although they rarely contain anything openly scary. Among his influences are puppet theater, commedia dell'arte and the paintings of fellow Belgian James Ensor. His works often deal with the extremes of human experience, from death and degradation to religious exaltation.
Among his influences are puppet theater and commedia dell'arte. His works often deal with the extremes of human experience, from death and degradation to religious exaltation. His 1934 play La Balade du grand macabre served as inspiration for György Ligeti's opera Le Grand Macabre.
- La Mort regarde a la fenetre (1918)
- Venus (1927)
- Christophe Colomb (1927)
- Don Juan (1928)
- Barabbas (1928)
- Fastes d'enfer (1929)
- Pantagleize (1929)
- Magie rouge (1931)
- La Balade du grand macabre (1934)
- Mademoiselle Jaïre (1934)
- Hop Signor! (1935)
- Marie la misérable (1952)
- L'école des bouffons (1953)
- Les aveugles (1956)
- Sortilèges [Spells] (1941)
- La Flandre est un songe (1953)