Although there has been literature in French in the area of present-day Belgium since the Middle Ages, French-language literature is generally only referred to as the French-language literature that has emerged there since the establishment of the independent state of Belgium (1830). Although Belgian writer, v. a. Often committed to local traditions in the choice of their fabrics, the majority followed the literary movements in France – a number also moved to France (including É. Verhaeren, M. Maeterlinck, G. Rodenbach, H. Michaux, F. Mallet- Joris , F. Marceau), a development that continues to the present day (J.-P. Toussaint , F. Weyergans ). See shopareview for Brussels of Belgium.
Since the last third of the 19th century, the Belgian literature of the French language increasingly developed its independence, with extreme attitudes being characteristic. This is shown inter alia. in the novels and stories of C. De Coster, who, connected to realism, described subjects from Flemish folk tales with a sensual pleasure that reached to the point of coarseness (“La légende… de Thyl Ulenspiegel et de Lamme Goedzak…”, 1868; German “Tyll Ulenspiegel and Lamm Goedzak…”), and the works of Octave Pirmez (* 1832, † 1883), which, close to symbolism, have a meditative-dreamy character. Max Waller (* 1860, † 1889) founded the magazine “La jeune Belgique” in 1881, which referred to the movement of “L’art pour l’art” and a moderate naturalism, but was on the whole rather eclectic. The employees included A. Giraud, Iwan Gilkin (* 1858, † 1924), Georges Eekhoud (* 1854, † 1927), initially also G. Rodenbach and É. Harden. The magazine “L’art moderne” founded by Edmond Picard (* 1836, † 1924), on the other hand, advocated committed art and called for an independent Belgian literature. The representatives of symbolism were A. Mockel, who founded the magazine »La Wallonie« in 1886, Charles Van Lerberghe (* 1861, † 1907), Max Elskamp (* 1862, † 1931), later F. Hellens and, with some of their works, M. Maeterlinck, G. Rodenbach and É. Harden. The works of C. Lemonnier belong to naturalism. C. Plisnier wrote socially critical novels, later poems and novels of mystical inspiration. In addition, there was a rich, regionalistic fiction with detailed descriptions of customs, milieu and landscape: G. Eekhoud, Eugène Demolder (* 1862, † 1919), H. Krains (* 1862, † 1934), Edmond Glesener (* 1874, † 1951) i.a. An important contribution to Belgian literature in French was made by dramatic poetry, v. a. with the works of F. Crommelynck, who a.o. was close to Expressionism, and M. de Ghelderode, who enriched it with mystical and grotesque features. Henri Soumagne (* 1891, † 1951) wrote symbolist, later expressionist pieces, Herman Closson (* 1901, † 1982) devoted himself to v. a. important historical figures. Clément Pansaers (* 1885, † 1922) represented Dadaism, and the strong surrealist movement in Belgium included, among others. Achille Chavée (* 1906, † 1969), Paul Nougé (* 1895, † 1967), Louis Scutenaire (* 1905, † 1987) and Marcel Marïen (* 1920, † 1993). The poet and painter H. Michaux created a lyrical and narrative work close to surrealism, which is characterized by an expansion of existing schemes of perception and representation. In his fantastic novels, F. Hellens draws on surrealism and symbolism, and later he also wrote socially critical novels.
The crime novels by G. Simenon, which have become known far beyond Belgium, deal with social and psychological conflicts.
In the 1950s and 1960s, the works of Dominique Rolin (* 1913, † 2012) and Jaques-Gérard Linze (* 1925, † 1997) were based on the Nouveau Roman model. The poetry of this time is represented by Albert Ayguesparse (* 1900, † 1996), Charles Bertin (* 1919, † 2002), Hubert Juin (* 1926, † 1987), Odilon-Jean Périer (* 1901, † 1928), André Sodenkamp (* 1906, † 2004), Marcel Thiry (* 1897, † 1977) and Liliane Wouters (* 1930). Important contributions to the French chanson come from J. Breland Julos Beaucarne (* 1936). In the theater are successful pieces of C. Bertin, Suzanne Lilar (* 1901, † 1992), Georges Sion (* 1913, † 2001), Jean MOGIN (* 1921, † 1986), F. Marceau and P. Willems played.
A literary movement based on national self-reflection has emerged since the 1970s. The many facets of recent Belgian literature can be seen in the novel, inter alia. with André Blavier (* 1922, † 2001), Alain Bosquet de Thoran (* 1933, † 2012), Conrad Detrez (* 1937, † 1985), Lilar, Pierre Mertens (* 1939), C. Bertin, Marcel Moreau (* 1933, † 2020), Jean Muno (* 1924, † 1988), Hubert Nyssen (* 1925, † 2011), Thomas Owen (* 1910, † 2002), Jean Ray (pseudonym J. Flanders, * 1887, † 1964), Jean-Claude Pirotte (* 1939, † 2014), Guy Vaes (* 1927, † 2012) and Henri Bauchau (* 1913, † 2012).
The allusive and stylistically refined work by the »minimalist« author and filmmaker J.-P. Toussaint, whose protagonists react to the banality of the world with increased indifference (“La Salle de bain”, 1985; German “The bathroom”). The rapidly growing work of A. Nothomb , which has been a success story every year since 1992, is full of imagination. The novel “Rue des Italiens” (1986) by Girolamo Santocono marks the beginning of literature written by immigrants in Belgium, to which Nicole Malinconi (* 1946), Leïla Houari (* 1958) and others. counting.
Some of the most important contemporary Belgian poets include: Géo Norge (* 1898, † 1990), Jacques Crickillon (* 1940), Jean-Pierre Verheggen (* 1942), Werner Lambersy (* 1941), Christian Hubin (* 1941), William Cliff (* 1941), Eugène Svitzkaya (* 1955), Guy Goffette (* 1947), among the successfully listed playwrights alongside F. Marceau, P. Willems and L. Wouters and others. René Kalisky (* 1936, † 1981), Jacques De Decker (* 1945), Jean Louvet (* 1934 † 2015) and Pascal Vrebos (* 1952). Besides the representative of the “Nouvelle critique” G. Poulet, Raoul Vaneigem (* 1934) and Isabelle Stengers (* 1949) are important essayists.
Belgian literature has a long tradition of fantastic literature (including J. Ray, T. Owen, F. Hellens) and comics (Hergé, * 1907, † 1983).
So far, a Belgian French-language writer has received the Nobel Prize for Literature: M. Maeterlinck (1911).