Maurice Polydore Marie Bernard, Count Maeterlinck (1862-1949) was a Belgian poet, playwright, and essayist writing in French. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1911. The main themes in his work are death and the meaning of life. He had written poems and short novels during his studies. In 1889, he became famous overnight after his first play, La Princesse Maleine, had received enthusiastic praise from Octave Mirbeau, the literary critic of Le Figaro (1890). In the following years, he wrote a series of symbolist plays characterized by fatalism and mysticism, most importantly The Intruder (1890), The Blind (1890) and Pélléas and Mélisande (1892). With the play Aglavaine et Sélysette he began to create characters, especially female characters, more in control of their destinies. After that he published his Douze Chansons (1896), Treasure of the Humble (1896), The Life of the Bee (1901), and Ariadne and Bluebeard (1902). In 1903, Maeterlinck received the Triennial Prize for Dramatic Literature from the Belgian government. His other works include Wisdom and Destiny (1898), and The Wrack of the Storm (1916).