'Ik heb mijn dag verdroomd, zoo doe ik met mijn leven'. Het estheticisme van Hélène Swarth

Liselotte Vandenbussche


This article aims to document three characteristic traits of Hélène Swarth's literary stance that clearly accord with Gerhard Plumpe's aestheticist paradigm. Instead of focussing on her literary work, this paper analyses Swarth's socio-literary behaviour and takes into account her double-voiced and partly gendered choices. Supplementing earlier work on Swarth, such as Liebaers (1964) and Meijer (2001), with new evidence, I hope to contribute to a re-evaluation of Swarth's literary position that honours her choices and does not separate her from the contemporary literary context. That way, I also wish to indicate the short-sightedness of later criticism of her work, which interprets Swarth's behaviour as driven by her gender only, and in doing so, provides a limited view that does injustice to her work and life.

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