The most famous of all modern Belgian writers, Maurice Maeterlinck, made his debut in a Parisian journal, the Pleiade, in 1886.
He succeeded more nearly than any of his predecessors in expressing or suggesting ideas and emotions which might have been supposed to be capable of translation only in terms of music. " The unconscious self, or rather the sub-conscious self," says Emile Verhaeren, " recognized in the verse and prose of Maeterlinck its language or rather its stammering attempt at language."
Maeterlinck was a native of Ghent, and the first poems of two of his fellow-townsmen also appeared in the Pleiade.
His inspiration may be traced in some measure to the Pre-Raphaelites and also to Blake, Shelley and Maeterlinck; but he found in his native Irish legend and life matter apt for his romantic and often elfin music, with its artful simplicities and unhackneyed cadences, and its elusive, inconclusive charm.