Hubert Lampo, born in Antwerp (Belgium)
is, at the age of 83, still one of the most famous and beloved
Flemish authors from the Dutch-speaking regions.
Many of his books are still available from bookshops and his
dedicated audience is constantly rejuvenated by young and enthusiastic
readers, (re)discovering his work. Also, he is widely read in
Lampo played an active part in the Flemish literary scene, among
others as the co-founder of the famous magazine Nieuw Vlaams
Tijdschrift. He was Government Inspector of Public Libraries
In 1973 Lampo became chairman of the Society of Flemish Men
of Letters and in 1989 he was awarded the title of Honorary
Doctor at Stendhal University of Grenoble (France).
Hubert Lampo’s vast body of work includes
23 novels, 15 essays, short stories, translations from French
and German, as well as innumerable articles on art and literature.
His first novel, Don Juan en de laatste nimf, was published
in 1943. Sixty years later Meulenhoff Publishers, Amsterdam,
published his omnibus Heimwee naar de sterren, containing
his novel De komst van Joachim Stiller.
The works of Lampo are characterized by its universal character.
Strongly influenced by experiences from the Second World War,
humanism, democracy and social engagement are central notions
in his writings. Lampo combines these aspects with a remarkable
sensibility for the supernatural and a fascination for the unaccountable.
From this fascination for superrational connections originates
a distinctive and personal style, otherwise known as “magical
realism”. His rendering of reality and fiction results in a
new psychological reality, in which he uses elements from parapsychology
and liberal interpretations of cultural history.
De komst van Joachim Stiller
(“The coming of Joachim Stiller”)
For many readers his novel De komst
van Joachim Stiller (1960), written completely in magical
realist style, is his best known and most beloved work. The
appearance of a mysterious saviour in this book is clear reference
to the Messiah archetype. The theme is a classical notion: the
hero has to experience many ordeals that will strenghten and
enlighten him. This logical road is leading from the concrete
to the abstract results in a rebirth or even renaissance of
the main character. The spiritual road of the hero influences
the reader as well, who, confronted with a sense of alienation,
recognizes himself, since he, unconsciously, follows that same
road. This novel has often been associated with the theories
of the Swiss psychologist Carl Gustav Jung.
The novel has been translated into 12 languages already; apart
from all major Western European languages also into some Slavic
languages like Polish, Serbo-Croation and Czech. More than 50
editions have been published. The book was adapted for the screen
by the famous Belgian film-maker Harry Kümmel.
Literay prizes and awards
In 1947 Hubert Lampo received the Prize
from the Province of Antwerp for his novel Hélène
Defraye. Since then he was awarded many prizes and honoury
disctinctions. For De komst van Joachim Stiller he
received in 1963 the prestigious, three-yearly, National Prize
for Creative Proze. In recent years he was honoured several
times: in 1998 he received the Literary Prize from the Province
of Antwerp, in 2001 the Prize from Liberal Humanism and in 2002
he was made honorary citizen of his hometown, Grobbendonk. Last,
but not least, he is a nominee for the Nobelprize for Literature.
In August 2000 the Free University of Brussels organized a 4-day
colloquy for his eightieth birthday, where many internationally
renowned speakers held a lecture.
Hubert Lampo Society
Spring 2003, a group of admirers of the
works of Hubert Lampo founded the Hubert Lampo Society.
This Dutch-Flemish society aims to stimulate and initiate research
of the works of Lampo and related subjects, facilitate the use
and maintenance of the existing archives, organize lectures,
publish a periodical and stimulate the publication of reprints
and translations. There is a close cooperation with several
academic international institutions.