Maurice Maeterlinck

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Maurice Maeterlinck
Maurice Maeterlinck's Signature.jpg

Maurice Polydore Marie Bernard Maeterlinck (born August 29, 1862 in Ghent , † May 6, 1949 in Nice ) was a Belgian writer and French-language playwright. The pronunciation of the surname is [ ma.tɛʁ.lɛ̃ ːk ] in Belgium and [ mɛ.teʁ.lɛ̃ ːk ] in France .

With his lyrical works and plays - including the play Pelléas et Mélisande - Maeterlinck is considered one of the most important representatives of symbolism . The focus of these works is often the human being in his helplessness against death. In 1911 Maeterlinck received the Nobel Prize for Literature .


Maurice Maeterlinck was born to wealthy French-speaking parents. During his student days he wrote poems and short stories, which he later destroyed and of which only fragments have survived. After completing his law studies, he lived in Paris for a few months , where he met some members of the new symbolic literary movement , including Stéphane Mallarmé and Villiers de l'Isle-Adam . In 1890 he became famous with his play La princesse Maleine .

The fairy tale drama Pelléas et Mélisande , composed in 1892 , was set to music several times, including 1902 as an opera by Claude Debussy (→ Pelléas et Mélisande ) and in 1954 as a ballet by Max Baumann .

From 1895 to 1918 he had a relationship with the singer Georgette Leblanc . In 1919 he married the French actress Renée Dahon (1893-1969). In 1926 he published La Vie des Termites , a blatant plagiarism of The Soul of the White Ant by the South African biologist and poet Eugène Marais (1871-1936). In 1930 he bought a castle in Nice , which he named Orlamonde from his Quinze Chansons . This house was run as the Hotel Palais Maeterlinck until March 2008 . In 1932 he was ennobled by the Belgian King Albert I and appointed count . In 1939 he emigrated to the USA , where he lived until 1947. He died in Nice in 1949.

Works (selection)

Melchior Lechter book cover for The Treasure of the Poor (1898)


  • Serres chaudes (1889)
  • Douze chansons (1896, republished as Quinze chansons in 1900 )


Stage works


For the German reception Monty Jacobs wrote a monograph with the title Maeterlinck in 1901 , a critical study for the introduction to his works .


The translations for the German first editions published by Eugen Diederichs are by Friedrich von Oppeln-Bronikowski .

German editions (selection)

First editions

Newer editions

  • The blue bird. Fairy tale game in 6 acts and 12 pictures . Sachon, Bad Wörishofen 1984 ISBN 3-923493-17-7
  • The early pieces. 2 volumes. Edition text and criticism, Munich 1983 ISBN 3-88377-127-9 and ISBN 3-88377-128-7
  • The life of the bees . Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 1953
  • Termite life . Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 1955
  • The life of the termites and The life of the ants . From the series Nobel Prize in Literature . Coron, Zurich 1966 (and new edition 1980)
  • Melisande's songs . Sachon, Mindelheim 1985 ISBN 3-923493-25-8
  • Pelleas and Melisande . Reclam, Stuttgart 1972 ISBN 3-15-009427-5
  • Prose and critical writings. 1886-1896 . Sachon, Bad Wörishofen 1983. ISBN 3-923493-03-7
  • The treasure of the poor . Reprint of the 1898 edition. Diederichs, Düsseldorf and Cologne 1964

Incidental music





Radio plays


  • Mohammed Anâm: Hugo von Hofmannsthal and Maurice Maeterlinck. On the representation and reception of Maeterlinck's concept of death and theater aesthetics with Hugo von Hofmannsthal . Hochschul-Verlag, Freiburg im Breisgau 1995 ISBN 3-8107-2257-X
  • Stefan Gross (Ed.): Maurice Maeterlinck and the German-language literature. A documentation . Sachon, Mindelheim 1985 ISBN 3-923493-04-5
  • Stefan Gross: Maurice Maeterlinck or the symbolic sadism of humor. Study of the early work with attached materials . Lang, Frankfurt am Main et al. 1985 ISBN 3-8204-9019-1
  • Monty Jacobs: Maeterlinck, a critical study introducing his works. Eugen Diederichs, Leipzig 1901
  • Linn Bratteteig Konrad: Modern drama as crisis. The case of Maurice Maeterlinck . (English version). Berne, New York and Lang, Frankfurt am Main 1986 ISBN 0-8204-0222-2
  • Hans W. Panthel: Rainer Maria Rilke and Maurice Maeterlinck . Erich Schmidt Verlag, Berlin 1973 ISBN 3-503-00741-5
  • Hartmut Riemenschneider: The influence of Maurice Maeterlinck on German literature up to Expressionism . Dissertation. Aachen July 1, 1969, DNB  482425571 .
  • Dirk Strohmann: The reception of Maurice Maeterlinck in the German-speaking countries (1891-1914). "European University Writings" series. Peter Lang, Bern 2006 ISBN 3-03910-855-7
  • Beatrix Vedder: Maurice Maeterlinck's symbolist theater . Lang, Frankfurt am Main et al. 1978 ISBN 3-261-02275-2

Web links

Commons : Maurice Maeterlinck  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Jean-Marie Pierret, Phonétique historique du français et notions de phonétique générale , 1994
  2. What remained unsuccessful
  3. The Scottish Art Nouveau artist Margaret MacDonald Mackintosh created a frieze for this mystical game in 1906 for Fritz Waerndorfer's music salon , which can be seen today at the MAK Vienna .