The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Maurice Maeterlinck

Maurice Polydore Marie Bernard Maeterlinck, Belgian author
Maurice Polydore Marie Bernard Maeterlinck, Belgian author

Maurice Polydore Marie Bernard Maeterlinck (August 29, 1862 - May 6, 1949) was a Belgian poet, playwright, and essayist.



Maurice Maeterlinck was born in Ghent, Belgium, in a wealthy, French-speaking family. He wrote poems and short novels during his studies, which he destroyed later; only fragments are left.

After finishing his law studies, he spent a few months in Paris, France. He met there some members of the then new Symbolism movement, Villiers de l'Isle Adam in particular. The latter would have a big influence on the work of Maeterlinck.

He became famous with his play La princesse Maleine in 1890, and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1911. Main themes in his work are death and the meaning of life.

He had a relationship with the singer Georgette Leblanc from 1895 till 1918. In 1919 he married Renée Dahon; together they went to the United States.

In 1926 he published La Vie des Termites (The Life of the White Ant) based - some say plagiarised - on the work "The Soul of the White Ant" by the South African poet and scientist Eugene Marais (1871 - 1936).

In 1930 he bought a château in Nice, France, and named it Orlamonde, a name occurring in his work Quinze Chansons.

He was made a count by King Albert I of Belgium in 1932. In 1939 he flew to the United States, and stayed there until 1947.

He died in Nice, France in 1949.

Partial Bibliography


  • Serres chaudes (1889; Hot House Blooms)
  • Douze chansons (1896, in 1900 re-issued as Quinze chansons)


  • Le Trésor des humbles (1896; The Treasure of the Humble)
  • La Sagesse et la destinée (1898; Wisdom and Destiny)
  • La Vie des abeilles (1901; The Life of the Bee)
  • L'Intelligence des fleurs (1907; The Intelligence of Flowers)


External links

  • Project Gutenberg e-texts of some of Maurice Maeterlinck's works,%20M
  • a transcript of the Nobel prize presentation speech

Last updated: 02-10-2005 20:27:34
Last updated: 05-03-2005 17:50:55