( Read ) Bruges la Morte by Georges Rodenbach – PDF, Kindle eBook & eBook Online

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Whom he believes is the double of his beloved wife leading him to psychological torment and humiliation culminating in a deranged murder This 1892 work is a poet's novel dense visionary and haunting Bruges the 'dead city' becomes a metaphor for. The morbid obsession of an inconsolable bereavement and the dual mapping of that loss onto city streets fog bound and empty and onto a new living object innocent of the simulacrum she s been forced to become Or the book doesn t really see her as innocent casting her as a somewhat blandly archetypal manipulative harlot but really who wouldn t fair poorly under the projected image of a lover who is unable to see her at all behind the other he has lost Still the streets of Bruges have a slow burning mystery here and a well wrought background of fanatical Catholic disapproval that builds to fever in the culminating Holy Blood procession Eerie and poetic this was a key text of the Belgian Symbolists admired by Huysmans and Mallarme with obvious causeIncidentally this edition was published by Atlas Press committed translators and reissuers of so many otherwise lost surrealist symbolist and dada texts Their edition also reproduces Rodenbach s photos of Bruges as they appeared in the original publication Symbolist painter Fernand Knopff also of Bruges did the original frontispiece and later did his own versions ghostly and elegaic of several of the photos

SUMMARY Bruges la Morte

Bruges la Morte

Hugues' dead wife as he follows its mournful labyrinth of streets and canals in a cyclical promenade of reflection and allusion the ultimate evocation of Rodenbach's lifelong love affair with the enduring mystery and mortuary atmosphere of Brug. Finishing off my Rodenbach readings with this marvelous novel FIRST TIER A profoundly sad and moving narrative of how all of a man s dreams are dashed one after the other A somber tribute to the melancholy charms of the city of Bruges as well as much as Bruges La Morte certainly as well as a rumination on ambition love and aesthetic appreciation A book for grey November afternoonsSECOND TIER A solid example of a satisfying Symbolist novel Rodenbach presents to us the rise and fall of a flawed man But perhaps Joris Borluut s fatal flaw is not so apparent as the usual crop and in truth he seems as much a victim of bad timing the trends of history and the melancholy spell of static morbidity that typifies Brugues as well as his love of that very uality Not a rousing knee slapper by any means but neither is it intellectually impenetrable and in truth I found it almost painfully heartfeltTHIRD TIER Joris Borluut wins the public competition to take on the role of Bruges new carillonneur that is to say performer of the bells in the town s ancient bell tower And this is in keeping with Borluut s character he loves the old Flemish town specifically its aesthetic ualities of grey history solemn melancholy and somber stasis He works to solidify this uality in his role of Town Architect restoring and preserving neither eliminating or refurbishing too much the ancient and aging balustrades colonnades brickwork friezes and general aging patina of Bruge s facades embalming the place as it were As well he gathers with a small group of like minded individuals who wish to restore the town to its ancient greatness although through different and eventually contradictory means And now he can celebrate the beauty of the city with music decorating the mummified remains with soundBut his life slowly begins to fall out of synch with his dreams An impulsive marriage based on physical attraction to Barbara van Hulle saddles him with a manic depressive wife fit to bursts of violence and suicidal depression whereas her contemplative calm sister Godelieve had harbored a life long love for Joris And an affair ends badly for all His opposition to the Town Council s plans to revivify Bruges status as a seaport disappeared as the harbor silted in over the decades which involves heavy construction and the loss of many famous buildings puts him at odds with the powerful costing him friendships and work And as he grasps at straws the refuge of the tower continues to callThis is a very sad book as melancholy and morose as Rodenbach s vision of Bruges It s status as a Symbolist novel does not give us an impenetrable series of images to decipher just some central ones the town of Bruges as museum of death the bell tower And these symbols have enough contradictory depth and complexity that the reader gains much in their contemplation The aesthetic idea of Bruges holds some weight the desire to preserve beauty and history in the face of endless crass economic progress and both the hopelessness of that noble cause and the danger as one is essentially embracing stasis and death The scene in which Borluut faces off against the town council s Monster Meeting only to find a small unenthusiastic crowd and plans already set in place that is to say the meeting is a formality of a fait accompli while he saw it as a chance to rally troops to his cause is heartbreaking and feels very of the moment even today And the idea is reflected on the personal level in old van Hulle s obsession with collecting clocks and his need for them all to keep exact time the idea that this plants in Boreluut s head the conception that dreams are anticipated reality achieved on the deathbed is similarly both melancholy and morbidLikewise Borluut s impetuous choice of Barbara and subseuent loss of the lovely and loving soul mate Godelieve has some nice symbolic resonance in the tower s Bell Of Lust which captives him with its carnal ualities And the slow delicate growth of his impossible love for the fairer sister is painful to read In fact the bell tower and the carillon are interesting and complicated central symbols themselves The placerole is a refuge a nuisance a seduction an aesthetic escape an energizing outlet an enervating task and finally a terminus for Borluut with shifting resonances in the worlds of creativity beauty philosophy and religion as the story moves on Borluut finds himself disorientated on returning to ground level at first after being high above the world and yet this situation reverses itself and then reverses again Rodenbach s treatment of religion is eually as interesting while not overly critical of Catholicism he weaves in a number of subtle observations of how the character s psychologies are influenced or not by Bruges strong Catholic history A late in the novel visit to the Procession of the Penitents in Veurne contrasting the high religious imagery with the earthy motivations of the visit is a strong seuence as well Joris Borluut s fatal flaw is hard to pin down it seems almost a lack of singular vision or dedication a desire to jump from one thing to another instead of applying himself to the basic things that matter Once again he realized too late that he had not seen clearly enough whereas Bartholmeus his friend and devoted artist succeeds and triumphs over the adversity of the town councilAll in all this was a very powerful novel and I m glad I read it It has that pervasive sense of melancholic gloom that Rodenbach also conjures in Bruges La Morte but with traditional less psychologically damaged characters Finishing it I find myself feeling as if I ve surfaced after a long swim under murky icy waters intense but refreshing It made me want to re watch the odd crime comedy IN BRUGES and consider visiting the city itself

CHARACTERS ☆ PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook ☆ Georges Rodenbach

Hugues Viane is a widower who has turned to the melancholy decaying city of Bruges as the ideal location in which to mourn his wife and as a backdrop for the narcissistic wanderings of his disturbed spirit He becomes obsessed with a young dancer. My real trip to Bruges took place when I got home after visiting the actual city when I gathered enough momentum to submit to Rodenbach s pulsating testimony of the kind of beauty that can only be found in death like one can sense in certain places such as the somber cathedrals the towering belfries the pebbled alleys and greyish uays that compose the skeleton of Bruges once a decadent city brought back to life by the refined pen of a Symbolist s contemplationHugues Viane is a disconsolate widower who has found a matchless companion in the lonely melancholy of Bruges a city whose glorious days of trade have waned into a suffocating atmosphere of religious conservatism Haunted by memories of his deceased wife Viane roams the streets of Bruges in silent conversation with its canals chiming bells and austere convents absorbed by his inexhaustible despair until he crosses paths with Jane a young actress who bears a strong resemblance with his beloved Spurred by his mysterious connection with the dormant city Viane indulges in a deranged fantasy that takes him into a downward spiral towards a climatic ending that explores the link between death conscience and grief Rodenbach s evocation of Bruges is than an attempt to paint an accurate landscape for Hugues mourning but a deliberate effort to thread a perturbing analogy between the city and the states of mind of a man lost in the morbid eroticism of venerating a dead woman in a living corpse Bruges becomes the mute narrator and the ultimate protagonist of the story Hugues the mirror that refracts it to the reader and Jane a grotesue object disguised as femme fatale that gives a Gothic touch to the outcome of the novel Tragedy can already be anticipated in the opening paragraph but plotline is totally superfluous in this case It s the stylistic delivery of foretold events merging with the internalized perceptions of its main character that makes this book a chilling but strangely delicate experience that creates the impression of a pagan ritual branded in darkly sensuous poetry that tempts and hypnotizes the reader leaving him helpless and levitating in suspended tension in the ache of pleasure momentarily achieved but never truly possessedI recently took a stroll around the medieval alleys of Bruges crossed its bridges and admired the uays over brimming with waves of tourists and pearly white swans but it was through Rodenbach s aesthetic vision that I finally met the true soul of this town in all its withered splendor and somber beauty of past blending with present of introspective art fused with metaphorical precision


10 thoughts on “Bruges la Morte

  1. says:

    My real trip to Bruges took place when I got home after visiting the actual city when I gathered enough momentum to submit to Rodenbach’s pulsating testimony of the kind of beauty that can only be found in death like one can sense in certain places such as the somber cathedrals the towering belfries the pebbled alleys and greyish

  2. says:

    I sometimes get the worrying feeling that nineteenth century men preferred their women to be dead than alive There is something archetypal abo

  3. says:

    “Upon the day following the funeral of the wife in whom was bound up all his possibilities of happiness he had retired to Bruges as a fastness of melancholy and there succumbed to its fascination”The old Gothic town and the bereft widower are in the perfect harmonyGeorges Rodenbach does everything possible to create the atmosphere of the morbid deadly melancholia and this authentic aura of hopelessness and doom turns the nove

  4. says:

    Hugues Viane has retired to Bruges after the death of his wife of ten years; five years later he is still unable to put her memory to rest Indeed he has seuestered himself in his home erecting a shrine to his wife; in this room are g

  5. says:

    A time of melancholic desperation Everything appears reminiscent of the loss of our loved one It is not a projection of our loss bu

  6. says:

    The morbid obsession of an inconsolable bereavement and the dual mapping of that loss onto city streets fog bound and empty and onto a new living object innocent of the simulacrum she's been forced to become Or the book doesn't really see her as innocent casting her as a somewhat blandly archetypal manipulative harlot but really who wouldn't fair poorly under the projected image of a lover who is unable to see

  7. says:

    Funny how years later I can still picture that one pose how everything else has fallen away – all the bitterness the arguments the boredom – and left only that I didn’t even see it first hand I saw only her reflection in the surface of t

  8. says:

    He needed a dead town to correspond to his dead wife His deep mourning demanded such a setting Life would only be bearable for him there It was instinct that had brought him here He would leave the world elsewhere to its bustle and buzz to its

  9. says:

    Finishing off my Rodenbach readings with this marvelous novel FIRST TIER A profoundly sad and moving narrative of how all of a man's dreams are dashed one after the other A somber tribute to the melancholy charms of the city of Bruges as well

  10. says:

    BRUGES LA MORTE is a slim novel telling the story of a man who mourning his dead wife moves to the Belgian city of Bruges a city seemingly designed to mope in Mist and fog blanket the cobblestone causeways and chilly canals watched over by brooding stone cathedrals from whose towers peal endless mournful bellsYou may think I'm being satirical but actually this is a great atmospheric read Our narrator is shocked to pass a woman in

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