Louis Paul Boon
Louis Paul Boon was a Flemish
Flanders is the community of the Flemings but also one of the institutions in Belgium, and a geographical region located in parts of present-day Belgium, France and the Netherlands. "Flanders" can also refer to the northern part of Belgium that contains Brussels, Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp...

 journalist and novelist who is considered one of the major 20th century writers in the Dutch language
Dutch language
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

. He forsook the literary Dutch of the Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 for regional Belgian Dutch
Flemish can refer to anything related to Flanders, and may refer directly to the following articles:*Flemish, an informal, though linguistically incorrect, name of any kind of the Dutch language as spoken in Belgium....

 words and expressions with which he colored his writing.

Born Lodewijk Paul Aalbrecht Boon in Aalst
Aalst, Belgium
Aalst is a city and municipality on the Dender River, 19 miles northwest from Brussels. It is located in the Flemish province of East Flanders in the Denderstreek. The municipality comprises the city of Aalst itself and the villages of Baardegem, Erembodegem, Gijzegem, Herdersem, Hofstade,...

, Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

 to a working-class family, Boon left school at age 16 to work for his father as a carriage painter. During evenings and weekends he studied art at the Aalsterse Academie voor Schone Kunsten but soon had to abandon this because of lack of funds.

Boon discovered he had a talent for writing and found work as a journalist, first for De Rode Vaan (1945–1946), Front (1946–1947) and De Vlaamse Gids (1948). Later he contributed to the newspaper Vooruit after which he established himself as a freelancer
A freelancer, freelance worker, or freelance is somebody who is self-employed and is not committed to a particular employer long term. These workers are often represented by a company or an agency that resells their labor and that of others to its clients with or without project management and...

. In subsequent years, Boon divided his energies between a constant stream of novels and journalistic pieces for Het Parool, De Zweep, Zondagspost. and other newspapers and magazines.

In 1969, he stopped writing—except for his "Boontjes" columns—and devoted himself to painting in his home in Erembodegem. Boon died in his home in 1979 at the age of 67. His wife was at the hairdressers because they were going out later that evening. When she left for the hairdressers, she said "Make sure you are ready to go when I get back" to which Boon answered "Of course I will. But don't forget I have a bad character".

Boon's literary legacy is a varied one, ranging from journalistic pieces on Belgian politics and society to erotic novelas. In historical novels such as De Bende van Jan de Lichte, De zoon van Jan de Lichte, De Zwarte Hand, and Daens, he depicted the oppression of the working class in 19th century Flanders
Flanders is the community of the Flemings but also one of the institutions in Belgium, and a geographical region located in parts of present-day Belgium, France and the Netherlands. "Flanders" can also refer to the northern part of Belgium that contains Brussels, Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp...

; in his controversial Geuzenboek, he wrote of the Spanish domination of the Low Countries
Low Countries
The Low Countries are the historical lands around the low-lying delta of the Rhine, Scheldt, and Meuse rivers, including the modern countries of Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and parts of northern France and western Germany....

 in the 16th century. Nearly all of Boon's work was infused by his profound commitment to socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

; in experimental
Experimental literature
Experimental literature refers to written works - often novels or magazines - that place great emphasis on innovations regarding technique and style.-Early history:...

, modernistic
Modernism, in its broadest definition, is modern thought, character, or practice. More specifically, the term describes the modernist movement, its set of cultural tendencies and array of associated cultural movements, originally arising from wide-scale and far-reaching changes to Western society...

 works such as Vergeten straat, Boon projected an ideal society but at the same time shared his doubts as to whether human nature could achieve utopia
Utopia is an ideal community or society possessing a perfect socio-politico-legal system. The word was imported from Greek by Sir Thomas More for his 1516 book Utopia, describing a fictional island in the Atlantic Ocean. The term has been used to describe both intentional communities that attempt...


Boon was thought to have been shortlisted for a Nobel Prize in Literature
Nobel Prize in Literature
Since 1901, the Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded annually to an author from any country who has, in the words from the will of Alfred Nobel, produced "in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction"...

 in the late 1970s. Very little of his writing has been translated into English, but De Kapellekensbaan and Zomer in Ter-Muren are both available in English translation from Dalkey Archive Press
Dalkey Archive Press
Dalkey Archive Press is a publisher of fiction, poetry, and literary criticism in Illinois in the United States, specializing in the publication or republication of lesser known, often avant-garde works...

 as Chapel Road and Summer in Termuren, and Paul Vincent's translation of Mijn kleine oorlog (as My Little War) was published by Dalkey in 2009.

Selected bibliography

  • De voorstad groeit (1941)
  • Abel Gholaerts (1944)
  • Vergeten straat (1946)
  • Mijn kleine oorlog (1946)
  • De Kapellekensbaan (1953)
  • Zomer te Ter-Muren (1956)
  • De zoon van Jan de Lichte (1962)
  • Dorp in Vlaanderen (1966)
  • Geniaal, maar met korte beentjes (1967)
  • Wat een leven (1967)
  • Over mijn boeken (1969)

Extended bibliography
  • Het brood onzer tranen (1939)
  • De voorstad groeit (1943)
  • Abel Gholaerts (1944)
  • Vergeten straat (1946)
  • Mijn kleine oorlog (1947)
  • Boontje's uitleenbibliotheek (1949)
  • Boontje's twee spoken (1952)
  • De Kapellekensbaan (1953) Chapel Road—published by Twayne 1972 and Dalkey Archive 2003
  • Boontje's reservaat 1 (1954)
  • Boontje's reservaat 2
  • Wapenbroeders (1955)
  • Menuet (1955) Minuet—published by Persea Books 1979
  • Boontje's reservaat 3 (1955)
  • Boontje's reservaat 4 (1956)
  • Zomer te Ter-Muren (1956)
  • De kleine Eva uit de Kromme Bijlstraat (1956)
  • Niets gaat ten onder (1956)
  • Grimmige sprookjes voor verdorven kinderen (1957)
  • De bende van Jan de Lichte (1957)
  • Boontje's reservaat 5 (1957)
  • De paradijsvogel (1958)
  • Vaarwel krokodil of de prijslijst van het geluk (1959)
  • De liefde van Annie Mols (1960)
  • Gustaaf Vermeersch (1960)
  • Reportages (1961)
  • De zoon van Jan de Lichte (1961)
  • Blauwbaardje in Wonderland en andere grimmige sprookjes voor verdorven kinderen (1962)
  • Dag aan dag (1963)
  • Het nieuwe onkruid (1964)
  • Reservaat (Verzamelde reservaten, 1965)
  • Dorp in Vlaanderen (1966)
  • Wat een leven! (1967)
  • 16 (1968)
  • Geniaal... maar met te korte beentjes (1969)
  • Twee spoken (Maagpijn - Uitleenbibliotheek) (1969)
  • 3 Mensen tussen muren (1969)
  • De bom (1969)
  • 90 Mensen (1970)
  • Boon-apartjes verzameld door Gerd de Ley (1971)
  • Pieter Daens (1971)
  • Als het onkruid bloeit (1972)
  • Eten op zijn Vlaams (1972)
  • Mieke Maaike's obscene jeugd (1972)
  • De meisjes van Jesses (1973)
  • Zomerdagdroom (1973)
  • Blauwbaardje in de ruimte (1973) with photographs from his son Jo
  • Davids jonge dagen (1974)
  • Verse boontjes (1974)
  • Menuet en andere verhalen (1974) Omvattend : Twee spoken / Menuet / De kleine Eva uit de Kromme Bijlstraat / Vaarwel krokodil of de prijslijst van het geluk
  • Memoires van de heer Daegeman (1975)
  • Verscheurd jeugdportret (1975)
  • De zwarte hand (1976)
  • Het jaar 1901 (1977)
  • Het geuzenboek (1979)
  • Verzamelde gedichten (1980)
  • Eros en de eenzame man (1980)
  • Ook de afbreker bouwt op (1982)
  • Proleet en fantast (1982)
  • Een operatie
  • Het zoutvat van Boontje Boon samengesteld door F.-J. Verdoodt (1985)
  • Hij was een zwarte en andere reportages (1986)
  • Memoires van Boontje (1988)
  • Boontjes 1959-1960 (1988)
  • Zondagsleven van Pomponneke (1988)
  • Vertraagde film (1988)
  • Brieven aan Morris (1989)
  • Vertellingen van Jo (1989)
  • Als een onweder bij zomerdag(1989)
  • Brieven aan literaire vrienden (1989)
  • Boontjes 1961 (1989)
  • Boons scenario's (1989)
  • Niets dan wat oorlog (1989)
  • L.P. Boon radio actief (1991)
  • Eens, op een mooie avond (1992)
  • Boontjes 1962 (1992)
  • Soldatenbrieven (1993)
  • Boontjes 1963 (1994)
  • Het literatuurkritische en kunstkritische werk. I. De Rode Vaan (1994)
  • Het literatuurkritische en kunstkritische werk. II. Front (1994)
  • Het literatuurkritische en kunstkritische werk III. De Vlaamse Gids (1995)
  • Boontjes moppenencyclopedie (1995)
  • Het literatuurkristische en kunstkritische werk. IV. Vooruit (1997)
  • Boontjes 1964 (1998)
  • Het boek Jezebel (1999)
  • Brussel, een oerwoud (1999)
  • Fenomenale Feminateek (2004)
  • Eenzaam spelen met Pompon (2005)

External links

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