As we progress through the list of contributors to A Darke Phantastique, we come to Jan Vander Laenen. His entry, “The Bat”, begins:
“‘One cannot help thinking that the Belgians started to leave God out of their social circle some time during the last war.’
—Xenophobe’s Guide to the Belgians
Yeah, a droll comment about my fellow countrymen that quote, and not even that untrue because if I now, in my forty-eighth year, look back on my childhood with the representatives of this post-war generation as parents and educators, I can scarcely accuse these parents and educators of this post-war generation of mine retrospectively of an excess of piety.”
When asked about the story, he claims:
“There are some very harmful people in your immediate environment!” says a Hollywood Tarot reader to me. She opens the window and chases away those negative energies around me. An hour or so later I pick up a book about vampires in a bookshop. I make the association between negative energies and bats . . .
Jan Vander Laenen lives in Brussels, Belgium, where he works as an art historian and translator (Dutch, French, and Italian). He is also the author of numerous collections of short stories, plays, and screenplays which have attracted keen interest abroad. A romantic comedy, Oscar Divo, and a thriller, The Card Game, have been optioned in Hollywood, while his short fiction collections, The Butler and Poète maudit, and his horror play A Mother’s Revenge are eliciting the requisite accolades in Italy.
Jan is a member of the Poe Studies Association and the Horror Writers Association. He presented his paper “Hypotheses on Poe’s Homosexuality” at the Bicentennial Congress in Philadelphia in October 2009. Since then he has given lectures on Poe, Baudelaire, Wiertz, Andersen, Guy de Maupassant, Grand Guignol, and the guillotine at the universities of Porto (Portugal), Gent (Belgium), Louisville (Kentucky), Madrid (Spain), and the Paris Sorbonne.
Jan is currently working on a play/screenplay around the life of the Romantic Belgian “horror” painter Antoine Wiertz (1806-1865), a novel called The Psychomanteum (concerning the practice of mirror gazing), and a screenplay around the life of Lucida Mansi. All things “dark romantic” stimulate his imagination.