Herman Teirlinck (1879-1967), the Flemish novelist and playwright, began his career by writing naturalistic regional novels but soon became a writer of aesthetically refined, fin-de-siecle prose about city life.
In the 1920s and '30s he championed socially committed community art, expressionist and experimental drama, and plays for outside theaters and mass audiences.
With “Maria Speermalie” (1940) and “Het Gevecht met de Engel” (Fight with the Angel, 1952), Teirlinck returned to the regional novel. “The Man in the Mirror” (1956, translated in 1963) is a refined exercise in prose that is strongly autobiographical in character.
Herman Teirlinck was honoured on several occasions. He received the Belgian National Award for theatre (1925 and 1928), the Belgian National Award for his entire oeuvre (1950), and he was the first to receive the Prijs der Nederlandse Letteren (Belgium and the Netherlands) in 1956. Four times, he became doctor honoris causa, viz. to the Universite Libre de Bruxelles (1938), University of Amsterdam (1947), University of Liege, (1954) and University of Ghent (1959), which is unique in the history of Flemish literature. His house in Beersel is now a museum.