The lion of Flanders
|The lion of Flanders|
Plot Summary :
tale dealing with the struggle of the Flemish people to defend their liberties and independence against the aggressions of the King of France. The scene is laid mostly in or around Bruges, and the palmy days of the old city are depicted.
From the introduction;
An introduction to the two novels selected for this series of "Foreign Classical Romances" to represent Flemish and Dutch literature would be utter- inadequate to its purpose if it were restricted in scope to the work and life of their authors, without reference to their relation to the two great currents now converging in common Dutch-Flemish literature.
the older of these two movements, the Fleming, Hendrik Conscience was the father and the most brilliant and successful leader. His name ranked with that of Scott in the international world of letters of the first half of the nineteenth century; he was translated in that day into every language of Europe, and even into some of its dialects; but. admirable as were his gifts as a teller of historic tales and a delineator of the daily life of his people — for he was a modern realist before modern realism was practised, as well as a romancer in the heyday of romance — his real service lay in that he revived a dying tongue, fought for its life through poverty and early lack of support, until, aided by others, he won a victory that has been felt in Belgian affairs of state as well as in Belgian letters.
At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Flemish was a dialect debased by the hordes of conquerors who had swarmed over the "cockpit of Europe" through the ages, an uncouth idiom spoken only by the Flemish peasant, despised by a French man and Walloon, derided by the Hollander, repudiated by the French-speaking Fleming of standing and culture — a speech without pliability, strength, or beauty, whose resources did not reach beyond the simple requirements of ordinary, everyday life.
Conscience left it a language worthy of literary usage, capable of rising to all demands that authorship could make upon it, flexible, sensitive, modulated: a tongue that could sing in tender verse and speak in noble prose.
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