Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Hugo Claus, 1929-2008

Today Hugo Claus died at the age of 78. He had had Alzheimers for several years and chose to have euthanasia, which took place this morning in Antwerp, Belgium.

Belgium is in mourning for one of our greatest artists. Hugo Claus was a writer, poet, painter, film directer and playwright. Having only ever read his most well known book, "The Sorrow of Belgium", I can't say I am very familiar with his work, but everyone here recognizes him as one of the monuments of Belgian literature.

This year, "The Sorrow of Belgium" celebrates its 25th anniversary. Just last weekend there was a whole section in our newspaper dedicated to it and a few weeks ago a "reading marathon" of it here in Leuven. I am currently re-reading it for "Book around the world" and will post more about the book itself in the future.

In the meantime, my sympathy goes out to the family and friends of Hugo Claus.


KatyShops said...

I wasn't aware that euthanasia was legal in Belgium. I'm sure your country is mourning.

Amy said...

Yes, it's been legal for a while, under certain circumstances, but there is still a lot of controversy about it. Apparently he decided when he was diagnosed with Alzheimers that when the time came that he couldn't express himself with words anymore, that would be the moment that he would take the step.

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