- De Coster, Charles Théodore Henri
- (1827-1879)French-language writer Charles de Coster was born in Munich, Germany, on 29 August 1827. His father was Flemish and his mother Walloon. Brought to Brussels at age six, he studied at the Collège de Saint-Michel and the Université libre de Bruxelles, but did not complete a degree, instead taking a post as bank clerk at the Société Générale de Belgique. Financially insecure, he acquired a steady income only on appointment as a teacher of German at the Military Academy in 1870.De Coster frequented a number of artistic circles and submitted poems, short stories, and reviews to periodicals. A passionate proponent of individual liberty, he was a freemason who also evinced sentiments of traditional Christian belief. His early prose works included Légendes Flamands (Flemish legends ) and Contes brabançons (Brabant tales ).In 1868, after 10 years of writing, he published in Brussels his seminal work La légende et les aventures heroïques, joyeuses et glorieuses d'Ulenspiegel et de Lamme Goedzak au pays de Flandres (The glorious adventures of Tyl Ulenspiegel). In writing the story of a hero who defies tyranny, set during the wars of religion, de Coster created a style that would later become characteristic of the Flemish novel, based on vivid, forthright language with an emphasis on descriptive details and colorful characterization. The first work to evoke the customs and spirit of Flanders, the book launched the start of Flemish cultural nationalism. Camille Lemmonier dubbed it the "Flemish Bible." De Coster died in Ixelles on 7 May 1879.See also Literature.
Historical Dictionary of Brussels. Paul F. State.