|André van Hasselt|
AKA André Henri Constant van Hasselt
Birthplace: Maastricht, Netherlands
Location of death: Brussels, Belgium
Cause of death: unspecified
Race or Ethnicity: White
Executive summary: Quatre Incarnations du Christ
Belgian poet, born at Maastricht, in Limburg, on the 5th of January 1806. He was educated in his native town, and at the University of Liége. In 1833 he left Maastricht, then blockaded by the Belgian forces, and made his way to Brussels, where he became a naturalized Belgian, and was attached to the Bibliothèque de Bourgogne. In 1843 he entered the education department, and eventually became an inspector of normal schools. His native language was Dutch, and as a French poet André van Hasselt had to overcome the difficulties of writing in a foreign language. He had published a Chant héllenique in honor of Canaris in the columns of La Sentinelle des Pays-Bas as early as 1826, and other poems followed. His first volume of verse, Primevères (1834), shows markedly the influence of Victor Hugo, which had been strengthened by a visit to Paris in 1830. His relations with Hugo became intimate in 1851-52, when the poet was an exile in Brussels. In 1839 he became editor of the Renaissance, a paper founded to encourage the fine arts. His chief work, the epic of the Quatre Incarnations du Christ, was published in 1867. In the same volume were printed his Études rythmiques, a series of metrical experiments designed to show that the French language could be adapted to every kind of musical rhythm. With the same end in view he executed translations of many German songs, and wrote new French libretti for the best-known operas of Mozart, Weber and others. Hasselt died at Saint Josse ten Noode, a suburb of Brussels, on the 1st of December 1874.
A selection from his works (10 vols., Brussels, 1876-77) was edited by MM. Charles Hen and Louis Alvin. He wrote many books for children, chiefly under the pseudonym of Alfred Avelines; and studies on historical and literary subjects. The books written in collaboration with Charles Hen are signed Charles André. A bibliography of his writings is appended to the notice by Louis Alvin in the Biographie nat. de Belgique, vol. VII. Van Hasselt's fame continued to increase since his death. A series of tributes to his memory are printed in the Poésies choisies (1901), edited by M. Georges Barral for the Collection des poètes français de l'étranger. This book contains a biographical and critical study by Jules Guillaume, and some valuable notes on the poet's theories of rhythm.
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