Elsschot, Willem

BORN 7 May 1882, Antwerpen - DIED 31 May 1960, Antwerpen: Lemméstraat 21
BIRTH NAME Ridder, Alphonsus Josephus de
CAUSE OF DEATH broken great artery
GRAVE LOCATION Antwerpen: Schoonselhof, Sint-Bernardsesteenweg, Hoboken (perk N, graf 45 (ashes) (erekerkhof))

Son of a baker. He studied in Antwerp, where Pol de Mont was one of his teachers and awoke his love for literature. From 1912 onwards he worked La Revue Continentale Illustrée, owned by his friend Jules Valenprint. During the First world War he was secretary to the National Committee for Help and Food in Antwerp.

After the war he founded an advertising agency that he directed until his death. Shortly before he died he confessed that he never liked the world of advertising but that he was never able to live from his pen alone.

His best known work was written during the 1920s and 1930s. "Lijmen" (1924) and "Het Been" (1938) together formed one novel. Business life and family are among the themes in his work.

Elsschot married Fine Scheurleer, but he probably had an affair with the poetess Liane Bruylants between 1946 and 1951. He died in 1960 in Antwerp and his wife died the nest day. Her body was buried beside his ashes at the Schoonselhofin Antwerp. Shortly after his death he received the State Prize for Literature posthumously.


The grave of Willem Elsschot at the Schoonselhof, Antwerpen.
Picture by Androom (27 Jul 2002)


• Heessen, Hans, Harry Jansen & Ed Schilders, Waar ligt Poot?, De Prom, Baarn, 1997
• Reeth, Adelaïde van & Guido Peeters, Herinneringen in Steen, De Haan/Unieboek, Houten, 1988

Elssler, Fanny

Published: 25 Dec 2009
Last update: 02 May 2022