Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Bit about Bruges

Harry: It's a fairytale town, isn't it?

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For those of you who journey towards my virtual Bruges for Fairy Tales week, Aug 23-29...

Some bits about the real Bruges...

~ sometimes referred to as "The Venice of the North"

~ at one time it was the "chief commercial city" of the world

~ has most of its medieval architecture intact

~ The historic centre of Bruges has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000. It is egg-shaped and about 430 hectares in size.

~ most famous landmark is its 13th-century belfry, housing a municipal carillon comprising 48 bells

~ known for its lace

~ has a very fine collection of medieval and early modern art, including the world-famous collection of Flemish Primitives.

~ various masters, such as Hans Memling and Jan van Eyck, lived and worked in Bruges

In Fiction:

~ The symbolist novelist George Rodenbach even made the sleepy city into a character in his novel Bruges-la-Morte, meaning "Bruges-the-dead".

Description from wikipedia:
Bruges-la-Morte is a short novel by the Belgian author Georges Rodenbach, first published in 1892. The title is difficult to translate but might be rendered as The Dead City of Bruges. It tells the story of Hugues Viane, a widower overcome with grief, who takes refuge in Bruges, where he becomes obsessed with a dancer he sees at the opera Robert le diable who is the exact likeness of his dead wife. The book is notable for its poetic evocation of the decaying city and for its innovative form. In 1920, the composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold used the novel as the basis for his opera Die tote Stadt.
Rodenbach interspersed his text with dozens of black-and-white photographs of Bruges. As such, the novel influenced many later writers, including W.G. Sebald. The plot of the book may also have influenced the French crime novel D'entre les morts by Boileau-Narcejac, which was filmed by Alfred Hitchcock as Vertigo in 1958.

Description from the amazon:
A new English translation of Bruges-la-Morte, by Will Stone and Mike Mitchell, appeared in 2005, published by Dedalus Books and with an introduction by Alan Hollinghurst.

~ Niccolò Rising, the first volume of the 8 book House of Niccolo series by Dorothy Dunnett is largely set in Bruges, and other books in the series also have sections set in Bruges.

~ In Bruges, a film from Oscar-winning director Martin McDonagh, starring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, is set almost entirely in Bruges. The city's major landmarks and history are mentioned repeatedly throughout the film, as is the contrasted viewpoints of the two lead characters of the story.


* Harry quote from film in Bruges

* Bruges info and image (outside of Beguinage with Minnewater Park) from Wikipedia

***~*~* Fairy Tales in Bruges schedule *~*~***

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