Cemetery: Père Lachaise Cemetery, 16 Rue du Repos, 75020 Paris, France
Georges Rodenbach was born in Tournai to a French mother and a German father from the Rhineland (Andernach). He went to school in Ghent at the prestigious Sint-Barbaracollege, where he became friends with the poet Emile Verhaeren. Rodenbach worked as a lawyer and journalist. He spent the last ten years of his life in Paris as the correspondent of the Journal de Bruxelles, and was an intimate of Edmond de Goncourt. He published eight collections of verse and four novels, as well as short stories, stage works and criticism. He produced some Parisian and purely imitative work; but a major part of his production is the outcome of a passionate idealism of the quiet Flemish towns in which he had passed his childhood and early youth. In his best known work, Bruges-la-Morte (1892), he explains that his aim is to evoke the town as a living being, associated with the moods of the spirit, counselling, dissuading from and prompting action. Bruges-la-Morte was used by the composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold as the basis for his opera Die Tote Stadt. Albrecht Rodenbach, his cousin, was a poet and novelist as well, and a leader in the revival of Flemish literature of the 19th century. (Taken from Wikipedia)
Interesting fact: David Bowie mentions Rodenbach in his song “Dancing Out In Space” from his 2013 album The Next Day.
Bruges-la-Morte is a short novel by the Belgian author Georges Rodenbach, first published in 1892. The title is difficult to translate but might be rendered as The Dead City of Bruges. It tells the story of Hugues Viane, a widower overcome with grief, who takes refuge in Bruges, where he becomes obsessed with a dancer he sees at the opera Robert le diable who is the exact likeness of his dead wife. The book is notable for its poetic evocation of the decaying city and for its innovative form. In 1920, the composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold used the novel as the basis for his opera Die Tote Stadt. Rodenbach interspersed his text with dozens of black-and-white photographs of Bruges. As such, the novel influenced many later writers, including W.G. Sebald.
The plot of the book may also have influenced the French crime novel D’entre les morts (The Living and the Dead) by Boileau-Narcejac which was filmed by Alfred Hitchcock as Vertigo in 1958.
Genre(s): Published 1800 -1900