Een pasgeboren staat, of een recentelijk ontwaakte natie? De historische roman als vormgever van het collectieve Belgische geheugen



Between 1830 and 1850, practically out of nowhere there came into being
a truly 'Belgian' literature, written boch in Flemish and in French, but aimed
at a single goal: the creation of a Belgian past and the conscruction of a
Belgian national identity. The historical novel played a crucial role in this
conscruction and representation of a collective memory for the Belgian state
just out of the cradle. The prefaces to these historical novels are characterized
both by the central role granted to the representacion of Flanders as the cradle
of nineteenth-century Belgium, and by the organically and religiously inspired
imagery. Attempts were made to create an intimate genealogical relationship
with the forefathers, in order to make the Belgian citizens feel closer to their
rich heritage. Through the activation of specific recollections from the
immense archive of the collective cultural memory, Belgian independence
found its legitimization both towards the international community and
towards the Belgian people.