Marnix Gijsen

Marnix Gijsen

Original Name Joannes Alphonsius Albertus Goris
Birth
Antwerp, Arrondissement Antwerpen, Antwerp (Antwerpen), Belgium
Death 29 Sep 1984 (aged 84)
Lubbeek, Arrondissement Leuven, Flemish Brabant (Vlaams-Brabant), Belgium
Burial Antwerp, Arrondissement Antwerpen, Antwerp (Antwerpen), Belgium
Plot Perk N
Memorial ID 6438 · View Source
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Author. He received notoriety as a Belgian award-winning author during the first part of the 20th century. Born Joannes Alphonsius Albertus Goris, his professional pseudonym surname of Gijsen was his mother's maiden name. He received a very strict Catholic education including with Jesuits of St. Ignatius. He was pushed to enter a trade school, when he was more interested in studying Homer, Goethe, and classical French literature. As a teenager, he demonstrated with others against the Catholic Church's cardinal and World War I, thus was labeled a rebel. The start of his literary career was writing poems for magazines, such as “Praise of Saint Francis of Assissi” in 1920. He studied at the University of Freiburg in Paris, France and in England at the London School of Economics. In 1925 he continued his education earning a PhD in Historical and Moral Sciences from Leuven University in Belgium. While in the United States in 1926, he had grant-funded studies at the University of Seattle in Washington and after the trip, wrote the poem, “Discover America” in 1927. He began to write essays on art and eventually, was submitting daily art reviews. He held civil servant positions such as the Chief of Cabinet of the Minister of Economics from 1932 until 1937, and from 1939 to 1941 he was Commissioner-General for tourism.During the Nazi invasion of Belgium in World War II, he fled in exile to the United States. On Sunday, May 21, 1944, he made a radio broadcast on the New York station WNYC about the treatment of Belgium artists, musicians, and writers during the Nazi occupation, which helped established tours for them. As the Voice of America, he was on Belgian Public Radio every Saturday night. During this time, he changed his profession name to “Marnix Gijsen.” He also changed his faith from Roman Catholic to Stoicism, and then wrote his first novel in 1947, “The Book of Joachim van Babylon.” Many consider his first novel to be his best. The same year, he was named honorary citizen of New York City and appointed a delegate to the United Nations Organization. His first novel followed with more successful novels: two in 1951, “Good and Evil” and “Lament for Agnes;” in 1961, “The Diaspora; and in 1965, “Self-portrait” and “The Pearl of Diplomacy.” In 1968 he wrote his first theater play, “Helena op Itahaka.” In 1971 he wrote two novels about his faith, “The Renegade” and “Confession of a Heathen”. Many of his works are on the subject of good against evil. Working for the Belgian commissioner for information at the rank of Minister Plenipotentiary, he lived in New York City from 1942 to 1964. Returning to Belgium in 1964, he retired in 1968. He was the recipient of the Belgian National Prize for Literature in 1959 and 1969; the Dutch literature prize, Prijs der Nederlandse Letteren in 1974; and knighted with the title of Baron in 1975.

Bio by: Linda Davis


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 21 Sep 1999
  • Find A Grave Memorial 6438
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Marnix Gijsen (20 Oct 1899–29 Sep 1984), Find A Grave Memorial no. 6438, citing Antwerpen Schoonselhof Communal Cemetery, Antwerp, Arrondissement Antwerpen, Antwerp (Antwerpen), Belgium ; Maintained by Find A Grave .