by Maurice Maeterlinck
Maurice Maeterlinck was born in August 1862 in Belgium to a wealthy family. Thanks to their abundance, Maeterlinck was able to complete law school at the University of Ghent, travel and write. Instead of practicing law, as his father wished, Maeterlinck focused on writing. He found success with his first play, Princess Maleine. He wrote several books that were well received, such as Twelve Songs (1896), The Treasure of the Humble (1896), and The Life of the Bee (1901). For his works, in 1903 Belgium awarded him the Triennial Prize for Dramatic Literature.Several of Maeterlinck’s writings had challenged the Catholic Church. He had attended the Jesuit College of Sainte-Barbe, which had left him with a disdain for organized religion in general, and Catholicism in particular. He also railed against Germany during both World Wars, which caused him to flee to the United States in 1940. He left for France after the war ended in 1947. One major criticism of Maeterlinck’s work was his plagiarism of La Vie des Termites (The Life of Termites), in which he directly took writings by Eugène Marais in a series of Dutch articles and translated them into French, claiming them as his own. Despite this outcry, Eugène Marais was not recognized by Maeterlinck in the work, and Maeterlinck continued to write and receive accolades for his work. Maeterlinck died in 1949 in France, after suffering a heart attack.