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Initially released in 1992, this bilingual anthology represents the power, range, and originality with which the Symbolist circulate used to be grafted in Belgium. Cultivating an aesthetics of hallucination and spatial paradigms of the interior international, the fin de siècle Belgian poets reworked the canal towns and landscapes in their place of origin into lasting magnets of the mind's eye. The Belgian Symbolist poems are vessels of passage to visionary geographical regions, demonstrating the permeability of internal and outer truth.

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Additional info for An Anthology of Belgian Symbolist Poets (Belgian Francophone Library)

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And your nails will grow soft with boredom, Your forehead, like a tombstone, will dominate your dreams, And will become your obsession, in the mirrors, at night. To fly from yourself! —If you could! but no, the lassitude Of others, your own, will have bent your back So well, riveted your feet so well, that dullness Will dethrone your mind and will seal your bones with lead. Dazzling and clacking, the banners toward the battles, Your bloodless lip, alas, will never know them: Worn-out, your heart, your mournful heart, in disputes Over ancient texts, as if slashing away at a cloth.

Eau calme du miroir impossible à tarir; On y s’oublie; on y dérive; on y recule . . Oh! s’en aller dans le miroir réfrigérant Périr un peu comme en une eau de crépuscule, 23 Donald Flanell Friedman: Belgian Symbolism, an Anthology 24 page 24 an anthology of belgian symbolist poets A stagnant water, aimless, without currents, Where the nude face sinks down, always in place; You pursue, seek yourself, losing yourself forever, In backward movement, in the depths of the looking-glass. You find yourself still, but as if covered over By a vast, endless water, barely transparent, Which allows you to observe, but pale and changed, The face that you will have when ill or very old, The most simplified face, joined in silent marriage, To the face that you will last have, when dead .

La Nuit s’exalte! Les réverbères à la file Déploient leur flamme bleue, Dans les banlieues, Comme des âmes qui font halte, Les âmes en chemin des morts de la journée Qui rêvent de rentrer dans leur maison fermée Et s’attardent longtemps aux portes de la ville. “la chambre, un doux port relégué . ” from Le Régne du Silence Oui! c’est doux! c’est, la chambre, un doux port relégué Où mon rêve, lassé de tendre au vent ses voiles, Dans le miroir tranquille et pâle s’est cargué. Las! sans plus espérer des sillages d’étoiles Et des départs vers des îles, mon rêve dort Dans le profond miroir, comme en un canal mort; Et faut-il désirer un coup de vent qui chasse En pleine mer cette âme à l’ancre dans la glace?

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