Over the years, Flemish writer and conférencier Bart Van Loo (b. 1973) has developed himself into a rare double talent. The Francophile’s appearances on the most famous talk show in the Netherlands, De Wereld Draait Door, are legendary. When performing in theaters, his shows sell out. However, Van Loo is first and foremost the author of the universally acclaimed France Trilogy (2011), Chanson (2011) and the best-seller Napoleon (2014). Critics and enthusiasts alike must acknowledge that Van Loo is a story teller with an unrivaled ability to combine enthusiasm, humor and knowledge.

The Burgundians (2019)

In this book, Flemish writer Bart Van Loo, as a 21stcentury Barbara Tuchman, tells the story of the Burgundians, covering a period of almost a thousand years (from 500-1500), from their origins as a Germanic tribe to their downfall in the fifteenth century, when the balance of power shifted to the Low Countries. At its height, roughly from 1350-1450, the Duchy of Burgundy spanned large parts of France and most of what is now Belgium and The Netherlands. Told against the background of the Hundred Years’ War and the constantly shifting alliances with France and England, Van Loo tells the story of the Burgundian elite and its remarkable court and culture – a medieval and early modern epic of dynastic struggle, the fight for power between the nobility and the upcoming cities, and of remarkable artistic achievement.

World rights: De Bezige Bij – pre-empt C.H. Beck Verlag (Germany), pre-empt Head of Zeus (World English) – History – hardcover –607 pages –  full colour illustrations in sections – publication January 2019 – Exhibitions in the Netherlands, Flanders and France

 

More: here.

 

Napoleon (2014)

The French Revolution and Napoleon: two epic, captivating tales from western history brought together in a vibrant and compelling narrative. Napoleon, one of the most influential figures in history, continues to fascinate. But he also continues to raise plenty of questions. How come an unknown Corsican managed to persuade the French people that he was the man they had all been waiting for? Who was the emperor who fought his way through Europe, leaving millions of casualties in his wake, and who ultimately met his end in a sodden field near Waterloo?
Bart Van Loo goes in search of the man behind the myth. He finds answers in the gripping and highly turbulent period of the French Revolution, when the old world died and everything changed. The shadow of that revolution would always hang over Napoleon.

Chanson. A sung history of France (2011)

French chanson is firmly grounded into life with both feet. The left foot anchored in the small history, that of you and me. The right foot touches the world history, that of kings and revolutions. The story of French chanson is indeed the story of history, but at the same time the story of the most universal inner feelings.  Love, grief, death, freedom, revolution, war. Your story and mine, but also that of Charlemagne, Louis XIV and Charles de Gaulle. That is the story I want to tell.

Bart Van Loo’s declaration of intent opens a highly original and enjoyable alternative history of France in the light of popular famous and almost forgotten French chansons.  Who did not shed a tear listening to ‘Ne me quitte pas’? Who did not rage with Edith Piaf on ‘Non, je ne regrette rien’?  Who did not dream once about making love on the tones of ‘Je t’aime… moi non plus’? By combining an erudite knowledge of French music and historical facts Bart Van Loo constructs fascinating connections between for instance Serge Gainsbourg and  ‘la Marseillaise’ or Vanessa Paradis and WWI.

The immortal songs of Jacques Brel, Serge Gainsbourg, Edith Piaf and other singing stars cause a wonderful tale. Bart Van Loo walks through the streets of Paris, listens to the chansons in his head and brings French history to life in a swinging story.

The France Trilogy (2006-2008-2010)

The France Trilogy is a tribute to literature and a highly original ode to the most important of life’s pleasures.

The first book, Paris Return, is a richly rewarding literary travel guide in which Van Loo sets out on the trail of the greatest of French writers. As well as presenting an extensive overview of nineteenth-century French literature, he guides the reader around the places that inspired Balzac, Hugo, Flaubert and many others. In Like a Cook in France he submerges himself in the country’s culinary past, fishing up all kinds of forgotten pearls. The combination of literary recipes and culinary stories is the product of many years spent browsing through centuries-old cookery books, and this volume too is packed with fascinating facts. Oh Vermillion Slit! entices us on an intriguing journey through the erotic texts of mainly French authors who have sung the praises of lascivious corporality. From Rabelais and de Sade to Nin and Houellebecq, they defied censorship and wrote about the most intimate things without the slightest restraint. Van Loo’s sensual history of pornography and erotica explains how our view of sexuality has evolved.

 


Video