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Maurice Maeterlinck
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    (August 29, 1862-May 6, 1949)
    Born in Ghent, Belgium
    Playwright, poet and essayist
    Plays include 'Intruder' (1890), 'The Blind' (1890), 'Pelleas and Melisande' (1892), 'Interior' (1894) and 'The Blue Bird' (1908)
    Poetry collections include 'Hothouse Blooms' (1889), 'Twelve Songs' (1896) and 'Poems' (1915)
    Other works include 'The Treasure of the Humble' (1896), 'The Life of the Bee' (1901), 'The Intelligence of Flowers' (1907), 'The Life of Termites' (1926), 'The Life of the Ant' (1930) and 'The Other World' (1941)
    Won the Nobel Prize in Literature (1911)
    Although his best-known work, 'The Blue Bird,' is a children's fable, most of his plays were dark and obsessed with death.
    He wrote a couple of his plays for marionette theater, having decided they could present the symbolism of his plays better than actual actors.
    'The Blue Bird' was twice adopted into film flops: Shirley Temple's first box office dud (1940) and a failed joint Soviet-American production (1976).
    He was accused of plagiarizing 'The Life of Termites' from South African naturalist and poet Eugene Marais.
    He married an actress four decades his junior.
    He was a sucker for psychics and mediums, saying 'Of all the explanations conceivable, the one which attributes everything to imposture and trickery is unquestionably the most extraordinary and least probable.'
    The critic for 'Le Figaro' hailed his first play as 'comparable --- dare I say it? -- superior in beauty to the most beautiful of Shakespeare.'
    When the Germans invaded Belgium in WWI, he tried to join the French Foreign Legion, but was turned down because of his age.
    His play 'Pelleas and Melisande' was adopted into an opera by Claude Debussy.
    'Pelleas and Melisande' also inspired compositions by Arnold Schoenberg and Jean Sibelius, with a section of Sibelius' work becoming the theme song for the BBC's long-running astronomy program 'The Sky at Night.'
    He wrote, 'Amid all the forms of life that suround us, only one, the dog, has made an alliance with us.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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