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Bruges-la-Morte - Around 1910-1912 (speed corrected)

Connection closed Your account is in use from another device. The second edition, an English translation by Mike Mitchell, was published by Dedalus in And the third edition, pictured right, was published in by Flammarion.


The Babel version, edited by Christian Berg, does not reproduce a single one of the 35 photographs reproduced in the original book version: his is a purely textual edition. Strangely enough, however, it does include eight pages of documents that are inserted, for some reason, in the middle of chapter four.

Among these documents one finds, for instance, the pieces pictured below: a frontispiece by Fernand Khnopff for an edition by Flammarion, a portrait of the author, and a copy of a manuscript page.

Needless to say, readers will have to turn to another edition if they want to see the photographs chosen by Rodenbach. Paradoxically, however, it will only do so if readers are familiar with or have access to the original photographs: how else could readers compare the former with the latter? You are commenting using your WordPress.

You are commenting using your Google account. With few exceptions, these are deserted views of Bruges in which the architecture is mirrored with perfect symmetry in the still waters of the canals. The images acquired by the publisher from photo archives have the haunted quality of old photographs, a queer mix of sunlit reality and transcendent strangeness. One wonders if it is age that imparts this quality to the images, or if Rodenbach's contemporaries felt it too. Although "Bruges-La-Morte" enjoyed considerable success in its day, it lost much of its appeal for succeeding generations.

At the same time, it was never entirely forgotten. In it inspired Erich Korngold's opera "Die Tote Stadt," which is periodically revived in opera houses around the world.

Georges Rodenbach | Vertigo

Some have even suggested that the novel was the inspiration for Hitchcock's "Vertigo. But no one who has been to Bruges will fail to appreciate what may be its foremost achievement: the insight with which Rodenbach has seized upon and expressed the elusive essence of an entire city, as though it had a human heart.

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