Stijn Streuvels has often been called a gifted describer. However, as
soon as one sets about investigating why the author is given that label,
and how descriptions actually function in his work, one is struck by the
vagueness of the concept of "description". Several theorists have attempted
to come to grips with it by delineating its distinctive features,
but their suggestions are not always easy to translate into practice. Nevertheless,
"description" is a label the use of which was and still is quite
common in literary criticism, stylebooks, and schoolbooks. Time and
again, it is stigmatized and its use in a literary text discouraged, unless it
undergoes certain adaptations which mitigate its negative characteristics.
An examination of relevant texts yields a number of interesting questions,
which shed a new light on some of Streuvels' works.