Monday, September 7, 2009

Rodenbach, Georges: Bruges-La-Morte

A Symbolist masterpiece from 1892 telling a fairly straightforward tale of infatuation to the point of madness, betrayal and
retribution. The main thrust of the book is the setting - Bruges - which also features in the easy contained in the book,
'The Death Throes of Towns'. That Bruges should be so regarded is, of course, hard for present-day readers to accept as it is
the honeypot of Flandrian tourism and thus hardly a dead town. Historically, however, this is not so as the town's medieval
prosperity was cut short when it was suddenly cut off from the sea which greatly restricted its trading opportunities though
it did continue with some success for several hundred years until the coming of the Strem Age gave the deep-water port of
Antwerp its current dominance. The book is hypnotising and vary effectively gives a feeling of a town that has seen better
days but is now a backwater. A small side comment - 'Rie Tote Stadt', Erich Korngold's opera, is based in this book.

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