Claus, Hugo

▪ Belgian writer
born April 5, 1929, Brugge, Belg.
died March 19, 2008, Antwerp

      Belgian poet, novelist, playwright, screenwriter, director, and painter, renowned for his prolific energy and the versatility of his politically and socially challenging work. Many consider him to be Belgium's greatest writer.

      The son of a painter, Claus attended Roman Catholic boarding schools before fleeing to France, where as a teenager he worked in a sugar factory and as a farmhand. In Paris he began to associate with painters and poets and at age 18 published his first collection of poems.

      Throughout a long career, Claus wrote thousands of poems, dozens of plays, and more than 20 novels, the most famous being his masterpiece, Het verdriet van België (1983; The Sorrow of Belgium), which drew on Claus's own experience as a youth during the Nazi occupation. The dense, poetic work brought scrutiny to the morally suspect attitude of Flemish society toward Nazi treatment of Belgian Jews, nearly half of whom were exterminated during the war. For years after the book's publication, Claus was expected to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. Other Belgian social and political legacies that featured in his work include the colonization of the Congo, the subject of two books, De geruchten (1996; “The Rumours”) and Onvoltooid verleden (1998; “Unfinished Past”).

      Claus's verse as well as his plays and films were controversial for their blunt treatment of sexuality, and the onstage nudity of his stage productions drew a kind of notoriety that expanded greatly in 1974 when Claus's girlfriend, the actress Sylvia Kristel, starred in Emmanuelle, an erotic film that became a world sensation.

      When Claus was diagnosed with Alzheimer disease, he elected to be euthanized, an act that is legal under certain conditions in Belgium and The Netherlands. The decision brought the author one last brush with controversy.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Claus, Hugo Maurice Julien — ▪ 2009       Belgian novelist, playwright, and poet born April 5, 1929, Bruges, Belg. died March 19, 2008, Antwerp, Belg. was a towering figure in Belgian literature and was regarded as a leading 20th century Renaissance man. Claus was best known …   Universalium

  • CLAUS (H.) — CLAUS HUGO (1929 ) Né à Bruges, Hugo Claus est l’auteur le plus important que la Flandre ait produit depuis Ghelderode. Le fait d’écrire dans cette langue de diffusion réduite qu’est le néerlandais a considérablement nui à sa notoriété dans le… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Claus — (Hugo Maurice Julien) (né en 1929) écrivain belge d expression néerlandaise. Il participa au mouvement Cobra. Poète (Tancredo infrasonic, 1952; Monsieur Sanglier, 1971), romancier (Jours de canicule, 1952; à propos de Dédé, 1963; l Année du… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Hugo Claus — (1961) De aarde danst op haar wolken, po …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Hugo Claus — (1961) Hugo Maurice Julien Claus (* 5. April 1929 in Brügge; † 19. März 2008 in Antwerpen) war ein flämischer Schriftsteller. Er trat auch als Maler, Dramatiker, Journalist, Lyriker, Librettist, Drehbuchautor, Übersetzer sowie als Film und… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Hugo Claus — (1961) Hugo Claus (Brujas, 5 de abril de 1929 Amberes, 19 de marzo de 2008) fue un escritor belga, considerado uno de los más importantes novelistas en lengua flamenca. Contenido …   Wikipedia Español

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  • Claus Breger — Born 25 December 1910 Pinnow Died 17 December 1944(1944 12 17) (aged 33) Aachen Allegiance …   Wikipedia

  • Claus — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Adolf Karl Ludwig Claus (1838–1900), deutscher Chemiker Anna Sophia Claus (* 1994), deutsche Schauspielerin Calle Claus (* 1971), deutscher Comiczeichner Carl Claus (1835−1899), deutscher Zoologe und… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Claus — (sometimes Clas) may refer to: People Given name Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg, the officer who, along with others, attempted to kill Hitler in 1944. Claus von Amsberg, Prince Claus of the Netherlands, Jonkheer van Amsberg (1926 2002) Claus… …   Wikipedia

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