The book collection of Stijn Streuvels

This book collection, which is unique in its kind, brings together over 1000 works of Stijn Streuvels (1871-1961), one of the most important Flemish writers of the 20th century. Collected by Streuvels specialist Paul Thiers, it surpasses in every respect the public collections relating to the author that we have in our libraries. The works trace almost 80 years of bibliophile history and the development of publishing, as well as illustrating the literary network that Streuvels enjoyed and his relationship with the visual arts.

The Heritage Fund has been able to acquire the collection thanks to the involvement of the Hendrik Conscience Heritage Library in Antwerp, to which the collection has now been entrusted and where it can be consulted by researchers in the history of literature, books and bibliographic sciences.

In addition to all of the first editions, the collection brings together a large number of rather rare works, limited editions, almost 80 author’s copies, some exceptional book-bindings and endless translations. All in all, they amount to 32 metres of books!

Stijn Streuvels (the pseudonym of Frank Lateur) is one of the most renowned and innovative Flemish writers of his time. He is known above all for his naturalist novels. His best-known books include De vlaschaard (The Flaxfield) (1907), Het leven en de dood in den Ast (Life and death in the drier) (1926) and De teleurgang van de waterhoek (The fall of Waterhoek) (1927). It was village life in Flanders and the theme of destiny that provided the inspiration for Streuvels, who also wrote several short stories and theatre plays. Many of his works have been adapted for the cinema (such as the classic Mira) or theatre.

A recipient of numerous literary prizes, Streuvels’s work was soon celebrated for its literary importance. According to a ranking of masterpieces of Flemish literature established by the Koninklijke Academie voor Nederlandse Taal - en Letterkunde (KANTL – The Royal Academy of Dutch Language and Literature), his work is among the ‘canons’ of Dutch-language literature.

Streuvel’s life and work continue to arouse great interest, as testified by the scientific studies published each year on the subject.