Highlighting forgotten, neglected, abandoned, forsaken, unrecognized, unacknowledged, overshadowed, out-of-fashion, under-translated writers. Has no one read your books? You are in good company.

Brought to you by

50 Watts (WS)
Invisible Stories (SS)
(un)justly (un)read (JS)


@WritersNoOneRds / Facebook

WNOR 2013 Book Preview


These writers are famous in some part of the internet or the world. Some may be famous in your own family or in your own mind.

browse by country

Czech Republic
United States

No one reads the Belgian Georges Rodenbach (1855-1898), author Bruges-la-Morte, which in addition to being called “the Symbolist novel,” was the first fictional work to incorporate photographs.

Rodenbach, who stated that silence was the thread connecting all of his work—which spanned eight volumes of poetry, four novels, a number of essays and short stories—worked as a lawyer and journalist in Paris (where he befriended Mallarme, Renoir, and Maeterlink, among others), despite his deep affection for his native soil. Of the distance he put between himself and Belgium, he wrote:

One only truly loves what one no longer has. Truly to love one’s little homeland, it is best to go away, to exile oneself for ever, to surrender oneself to the vast absorption of Paris, and for the homeland to grow so distant it seems to die. […] The essence of art that is at all noble is the DREAM, and this dream dwells only upon what is distant, absent, vanished, unattainable.

Bruges-la-Morte, which made him famous when it was published in serial form in 1892 and is undoubtedly his masterpiece, conjures the city of its title. In his forward, in fact, Rodenbach stated his goal in writing the novel was to “evoke a city… in its essence, [as] a person whose shifting moods persuade or dissuade us and determine our actions.”


The plot centers on the obsessive widower Hugues Viane, who moved to Bruges after the death of his wife several years before the novel opens. With no occupation to fill his time, Hugues wanders the melancholy town, meditating on death and longing for the grave. A bizarre and scandalous romance begins when he sees a woman he takes to be the exact double of his dead wife in the streets. The novel’s associations with morbidity and despair, not to mention its shocking conclusion, created a stir among town officials, who later refused to permit a memorial statue of the writer to be erected in Bruges—hence Rodenbach’s suitably eye-catching tomb in Paris, pictured above.

The outline of the plot may lead one to assume that the novel is a melodrama, but it steers away from action in favor of the internal world. Writing in the Guardian, novelist Alan Hollinghurst claims that Rodenbach “creates a rarefied world, internalized and intensified by feeling.” And the always reliable Nick Lezard contends that Bruges-la-Morte “is one of the greatest novels ever written about grief, loneliness, and isolation…”

Some representative passages should suffice to put you under the pall of Bruges’ gray northern skies:

Bruges was his dead wife. And his dead wife was Bruges. The two were united in a like destiny. It was Bruges-la-Morte, the dead town entombed in its stone quais, with the arteries of its canals cold once the great pulse of the sea had ceased beating in them.


As he walked, the sad faded leaves were driven pitilessly around him by the wind, and under the mingling influences of autumn and evening, a craving for the quietude of the grave … overtook him with unwanted intensity

Portrait of Rodenbach by Lucien Levy-Dhurmer

  • For more, see a gallery of photographs included in the book or some of Fernand Knopff’s haunting artwork inspired by the novel.
  • Dedalus Books publishes English translations of three of Rodenbach’s works, including Bruges-la-Morte.

[Photo of Rodenbach’s tomb in Paris by nikoretro]

303 notesShowHide

  1. fotopoulaki reblogged this from writersnoonereads
  2. dirtyriver reblogged this from writersnoonereads and added:
    My love for Bruges the town may well have clouded my judgment, but it seems to me that Bruges-la-Morte has reached cult...
  3. beautiful-belgium reblogged this from writersnoonereads
  4. jeanandthexmen reblogged this from writersnoonereads
  5. myfishdaniel reblogged this from writersnoonereads
  6. grapplemydrapple reblogged this from writersnoonereads
  7. hopecook reblogged this from writersnoonereads
  8. kingofthebookcase reblogged this from cyriaquelamar
  9. davidfloodsterwallace reblogged this from kinbotebyrote
  10. musicistheart reblogged this from writersnoonereads
  11. gypsyearrings reblogged this from 50watts
  12. virtualtravels reblogged this from writersnoonereads
  13. winca reblogged this from 50watts
  14. judasinvictus reblogged this from writersnoonereads
  15. gingerputin reblogged this from goodnightmorticia and added:
    …. I like this.
  16. goodnightmorticia reblogged this from rocketshipsandrobots and added:
    George Rodenbach’s tomb in Paris by nikoretro
  17. bumblelee23 reblogged this from writersnoonereads
  18. brewngames reblogged this from writersnoonereads
  19. shernecked reblogged this from writersnoonereads
  20. eddiiescissorhands666 reblogged this from 50watts
  21. blackpaint20 reblogged this from writersnoonereads and added:
    “The pale water which goes away along paths of silence” — Georges Rodenbach