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Ghelderode, Michel de

Michel de Ghelderode (mēshĕl´ də gĕldərōd´), 1898–1962, Belgian dramatist. He wrote in French and is noted for his colorful and avant-garde plays. He lived in obscurity until 1949, when he gained prominence with the production of Fastes d'enfer (1929). His vast output reveals his use of many sources; Barabbas (1928), Mademoiselle Jaïre (1934), and Marie la misérable (1952) draw on biblical themes or medieval morality plays. The influences of Maeterlinck and Flemish painters, of puppet theater and commedia dell'arte, of Rabelais and Edgar Allan Poe, are evident in Pantagleize (1929), Magie rouge (1931), La Balade du grand macabre (1934), and Hop Signor! (1935). Complex dramatic techniques are used in Christophe Colomb (1927) and Don Juan (1928). Ghelderode favored themes of death and the devil, gluttony, avarice, and lust, but he also explored the heights of religious exaltation. Among his prose works La Flandre est un songe (1953) is well known.

See his Théâtre complet (5 vol., 1950–52). Les Entretiens d'Ostende (1956) has been partly translated, together with some of his best plays, in Seven Plays (1960).

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