- Hellens, Franz
- (1881-1972)Franz Hellens, a pseudonym for Franz van Ermengen, was born in Brussels on 8 September 1881. He spent his youth and adolescence in Ghent where he studied law at the university. He received a degree in 1905 but never practiced, taking a post as a trainee at the Bibliothèque royale in Brussels. In 1912, Hellens was appointed librarian to the Belgian parliament, a post he would hold throughout his working life except for the years during World War I, which he spent in France.A prolific French-language writer of poems, novels, and short stories, Hellens in his early works (En ville morte, In the dead city ) employed a profuse style in making abundant use of neologisms and rare words. His writing evolved gradually toward a more simple and natural style. Known especially for his prose poems, tales, and anecdotes, Hellens evinced a preoccupation with social and humanitarian concerns in some of his works; still, the distinguishing feature of most of his writings is the author himself. An introvert and a dreamer who wrote almost all of his novels in the first or third person, Hellens employed the conflict between good and evil as a central theme of his oeuvre. His works include Melusine (1920), Fantômes vivants (Living phantoms ), and Poésie complète (1905-1959), the last a collection of his poems. He died in Brussels on 20 January 1972.
Historical Dictionary of Brussels. Paul F. State.