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This report is taken from PN Review 85, Volume 18 Number 5, May - June 1992.

Ensuring Continuity: Albert Maquet at 70 Yann Lovelock
When Germany invaded Belgium on the eve of his eighteenth birthday, Albert Maquet was writing rondeaux in Walloon dialect. Thereafter he prepared for a renewal of means.

The mandarins of Brussels (political and literary) then swept from place had always been an irrelevance. In those days it was still hoped that Wallonia and Flanders would regain their independence, each bound together by their sense of community and encouraged by the guardians of their cultures writing in the language of the people. In the province of Liege, to which Maquet belonged, there was a long history of Walloon writing, but it was threatened as much by traditionalism as by the inroads of French. To enter into equal dialogue with its neighbours, Walloon needed a modern literature able to stand beside the best in other languages. Only thus could its retention as a medium be justified and its survival ensured by demonstrating that it could adapt to new situations.

If Maquet turned to the Surrealists and their precursors for models, it was not simply because of the French connection. Surrealism had taken root in Belgium too, and there were Belgians who cooperated in the wartime Main à Plume publications, including Maquet's exact contemporary, Christian Dotremont, and Raoul Ubac. Surrealism therefore stood not just for modernity but for resistance to tyranny of all kinds.

Soon after the war Maquet brought out his first collection, Djeu D'Apeles, with a fighting preface arguing the case for renewal. At least half ...


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