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Daniël Robberechts

Daniël Robberechts (1937-1992) was born in Brussels. For a while, he was an army officer candidate and obtained a BSc in mathematics from the University of Brussels. By the time his first novel, ‘The Unstable Silence’ (De labiele stilte) was published in 1968, he was already an award-winning, comitted writer for prominent Flemish literary magazines.He wrote primarily novels, diaries and essays and is known for his experimental urge for form innovation.

Robberechts developed his own, individual style, sometimes adopting provocative standpoints that ran counter to dominant (literary) conventions. His most remarkable works from that point of view are ‘Against the Character’ (Tegen het personage), ‘The Labia’ (De grote schaamlippen) and ‘Writing Prague’ (Praag schrijven), a book that deviated substantially from the accepted narrative prose. His last manuscript, ‘Entire Text’ (TOT or Totaaltekst) was published posthumously as  ‘Posthumous Work’ (Nagelaten Werk) and exhibits a maniacal longing for perfection and the desire for absolute accuracy. By inventorising all possible forms of linguistic expression and the systematic demonstration of the rhetorical actions on which they are founded, the author is attempting to provide the reader with insight into language manipulations and, therefore, indirectly expand his social awareness.

Robberechts refused to classify his books as novels, stories, or essays, according them all equal status as, simply, writing. This liberation from genre gives his work, for all its apparent simplicity, an elusive, hypnotic quality.