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The Dedalus Book of French Horror: The 19th Century

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This anthology provides a representative selection of a century of French horror writing by such authors as Petrus Borel, Theophile Gautier, Gerard de Nerval, Charles Nodier, Guy de Maupassant, Charles Baudelaire, and J.K. Huysmans, most appearing for the first time in English. It traces the full development of a genre that initially appeared in the aftermath of the French This anthology provides a representative selection of a century of French horror writing by such authors as Petrus Borel, Theophile Gautier, Gerard de Nerval, Charles Nodier, Guy de Maupassant, Charles Baudelaire, and J.K. Huysmans, most appearing for the first time in English. It traces the full development of a genre that initially appeared in the aftermath of the French Revolution, and has been used to explore the most terrifying aspects of science and social life. CONTENTS Introduction · Terry Hale · in * The Lamp of Saint Just · Frédéric Soulié; trans. by Liz Heron · ss * The Travels of Claude Belissan · Eugène Sue; trans. by Terry Hale · ss * Solange · Alexandre Dumas · nv The London Journal, 1849 Monsieur de l’Argentière, Public Prosecutor · Pétrus Borel; trans. by Terry Hale · nv * The Covetous Clerk · Alphonse Royer; trans. by Terry Hale · ss * One Eye Between Two · Xavier Forneret; trans. by Liz Heron · nv * Dorci, or the Vagaries of Chance · Marquis de Sade; trans. by Terry Hale · ss * Mademoiselle Scalpel · Charles Baudelaire; trans. by Terry Hale · ss * The Penitent · Catulle Mendès; trans. by Terry Hale · ss * The Astonishing Moutonnet Couple · Villiers de l’Isle-Adam; trans. by Terry Hale · ss * Constant Guignard · Jean Richepin; trans. by Terry Hale · ss * The Hanged Man · Charles Cros; trans. by Liz Heron · ss * Monsieur Mathias · Jules Lermina; trans. by Liz Heron · ss * A Burnt Offering · Léon Bloy; trans. by Terry Hale · ss * A Family Treat [from Becalmed] · J. K. Huysmans; trans. by Terry Hale · ex, 1992; revised The Prisoner of his Own Masterpiece · Edmond Haraucourt; trans. by Terry Hale · ss * Jacques Cazotte’s Prophecy · La Harpe; trans. by Terry Hale · ss * The Story of Hélène Gillet · Charles Nodier; trans. by Liz Heron · ss * The Green Monster · Gérard de Nerval; trans. by Terry Hale · ss * The Invisible Eye · Erckmann-Chatrian; trans. by Anon. · ss Temple Bar Dec, 1870 The Reincarnation of Doctor Roger · Henri Rivière; trans. by Terry Hale · nv * The Head of Hair · Guy de Maupassant; trans. by Terry Hale · ss * Mademoiselle Dafné · Théophile Gautier; trans. by Liz Heron · nv * One Possessed · Jean Lorrain; trans. by Liz Heron


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This anthology provides a representative selection of a century of French horror writing by such authors as Petrus Borel, Theophile Gautier, Gerard de Nerval, Charles Nodier, Guy de Maupassant, Charles Baudelaire, and J.K. Huysmans, most appearing for the first time in English. It traces the full development of a genre that initially appeared in the aftermath of the French This anthology provides a representative selection of a century of French horror writing by such authors as Petrus Borel, Theophile Gautier, Gerard de Nerval, Charles Nodier, Guy de Maupassant, Charles Baudelaire, and J.K. Huysmans, most appearing for the first time in English. It traces the full development of a genre that initially appeared in the aftermath of the French Revolution, and has been used to explore the most terrifying aspects of science and social life. CONTENTS Introduction · Terry Hale · in * The Lamp of Saint Just · Frédéric Soulié; trans. by Liz Heron · ss * The Travels of Claude Belissan · Eugène Sue; trans. by Terry Hale · ss * Solange · Alexandre Dumas · nv The London Journal, 1849 Monsieur de l’Argentière, Public Prosecutor · Pétrus Borel; trans. by Terry Hale · nv * The Covetous Clerk · Alphonse Royer; trans. by Terry Hale · ss * One Eye Between Two · Xavier Forneret; trans. by Liz Heron · nv * Dorci, or the Vagaries of Chance · Marquis de Sade; trans. by Terry Hale · ss * Mademoiselle Scalpel · Charles Baudelaire; trans. by Terry Hale · ss * The Penitent · Catulle Mendès; trans. by Terry Hale · ss * The Astonishing Moutonnet Couple · Villiers de l’Isle-Adam; trans. by Terry Hale · ss * Constant Guignard · Jean Richepin; trans. by Terry Hale · ss * The Hanged Man · Charles Cros; trans. by Liz Heron · ss * Monsieur Mathias · Jules Lermina; trans. by Liz Heron · ss * A Burnt Offering · Léon Bloy; trans. by Terry Hale · ss * A Family Treat [from Becalmed] · J. K. Huysmans; trans. by Terry Hale · ex, 1992; revised The Prisoner of his Own Masterpiece · Edmond Haraucourt; trans. by Terry Hale · ss * Jacques Cazotte’s Prophecy · La Harpe; trans. by Terry Hale · ss * The Story of Hélène Gillet · Charles Nodier; trans. by Liz Heron · ss * The Green Monster · Gérard de Nerval; trans. by Terry Hale · ss * The Invisible Eye · Erckmann-Chatrian; trans. by Anon. · ss Temple Bar Dec, 1870 The Reincarnation of Doctor Roger · Henri Rivière; trans. by Terry Hale · nv * The Head of Hair · Guy de Maupassant; trans. by Terry Hale · ss * Mademoiselle Dafné · Théophile Gautier; trans. by Liz Heron · nv * One Possessed · Jean Lorrain; trans. by Liz Heron

30 review for The Dedalus Book of French Horror: The 19th Century

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Oakes

    I'm so torn -- I'm leaning toward like a 4.3. The book as a collection was great but in my opinion, not perfect. ** One huge benefit of swimming out of the mainstream in my choice of books is that I occasionally come across collections like this one. There are twenty-four stories included in this volume, nineteen of which, according to editor Terry Hale, are making their English translation debut here; the other five whose names may be more familiar are represented by somewhat lesser-known materi I'm so torn -- I'm leaning toward like a 4.3. The book as a collection was great but in my opinion, not perfect. ** One huge benefit of swimming out of the mainstream in my choice of books is that I occasionally come across collections like this one. There are twenty-four stories included in this volume, nineteen of which, according to editor Terry Hale, are making their English translation debut here; the other five whose names may be more familiar are represented by somewhat lesser-known material. The book is divided into three sections, encompassing "Frenetic Tales," "Contes Cruels," and "Contes Fantastiqes," and Hale notes that this book is "intended to demonstrate the breadth and range of French writing in relation to the strange and macabre." He also notes that while "the French horror story of the nineteenth century may have freely requisitioned ideas gleaned from British, German and American authors," the writers here (and many others with works not found in this book, I'm sure) had been putting their own spin on them from the Romantics on through the writers of the fin-de-siècle: "Born in the aftermath of the French Revolution, the Romantic writers of the 1820s and 30s brought to the genre narrative sophistication and their own set of macabre fears and anxieties concerning such matters as the death penalty, anatomical research, the cholera epidemic, infanticide, and man's inhumanity to man; the rise of spiritualism in the mid-century presented a fresh collection of moral problematics; finally, the end of the century, especially under the pioneering work in the discipline later to become known as psychology, witnessed a renewed fascination in diabolicism and morbid sexuality." (35) So if you're looking for the standard horror fare, that's not what you're going to get here. That doesn't mean these stories aren't frightening, because they are, but in very different ways than one might expect. In some cases, all that's required is a bit of thought before the true, underlying horror actually hits you. If you read this anthology with the idea in the back of your head that, as Hale says here, "horror fiction is a vehicle for exploring forbidden themes," then this collection completely adheres and is quite successful. As I said, it's not your run-of-the-mill sort of horror story anthology and while not every story worked for me, it certainly gives an insight into the sort of anxieties that dominated over several decades of nineteenth-century France, and in that sense, it also works well as a coherent collection. I'll also say that I have not been disappointed in any Dedalus publication so far, and this is yet another to hold a special place in my home library. Highly, highly recommended, but beware: reading this book increased my tbr pile as I started adding more works by different authors represented here. much more here: http://www.oddlyweirdfiction.com/2017...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Andy

    Not all of these are horror stories in the traditional sense, in fact most aren't and quite a few of the conte cruel's are of the humorous variety. But while these aren't traditional horror stories they're certainly horrific, not because of ghosts or monsters but because of the unseemliness they explore. The level of misanthropy here is delectable, and there's lots of guillotines, perverse sexual obsessions and occasionally a story with a thick Gothic atmosphere. Still I would say this collection Not all of these are horror stories in the traditional sense, in fact most aren't and quite a few of the conte cruel's are of the humorous variety. But while these aren't traditional horror stories they're certainly horrific, not because of ghosts or monsters but because of the unseemliness they explore. The level of misanthropy here is delectable, and there's lots of guillotines, perverse sexual obsessions and occasionally a story with a thick Gothic atmosphere. Still I would say this collection is fairly uneven, compared with excellent collection "French Decadent Tales" edited by Stephen Romer for example. In overall tone these two collections aren't very different either I'd say. There's a lot of great stories here, but the one's I didn't like were a chore to get through sometimes. Also the best stories are one's I'd read previously, although they're all good enough to warrant a re-read. The introduction is definitely worth reading, will give you a lot of other authors to investigate. "Frenetic Tales" Frédéric Soulié - The Lamp of Saint Just - A dramatic, downright overwrought tale with a conte cruel feel, even if it's in the section of "Frenetic Tales." Notable here is that the revenge in this story fails, and evil wins. A story of terrible revenge upon a knight who throws a family out of their home. Eugène Sue - The Travels of Claude Belissan - This is an excellent story, grimly funny at times, deeply misanthropic. After experiencing a deeply hurtful insult a man decides to leave civilization behind and go to a place where he imagines all men are equal and live harmoniously in nature. Alexandre Dumas - Solange - This is a powerful story, both horrific and sad, with a potent and building Gothic atmosphere. About half through it changes gears quite sharply. During the Reign of Terror a man meets a beautiful aristocrat living in hiding and aids the escape of her father from France. They fall in love and she decides to stay there with him, despite the danger. Pétrus Borel - Monsieur de l’Argentière, Public Prosecutor - One of the grimmest stories in the collection, over the top at times, with a good deal of decadent atmosphere. Underneath the gritty, Zola-esuqe story one can feel a seething loathing for the masses and mankind generally. A man foolishly tells his lecherous friend of a beautiful, innocent young woman he intends to marry, leading to horrible tragedy. Alphonse Royer - The Covetous Clerk - A more traditional horror story, mostly set in a graveyard, with a conte cruel ending. A clerk decides to steal the corpse of a criminal who has a reward on his head. Xavier Forneret - One Eye Between Two - One of the strangest entries here. Overwrought, over-dramatic and overlong; this one is full of long, wandering speeches that rarely get to the point. Still, it's not an awful story, it has a certain surreal mood to it that I enjoyed and the ending is quite a jolt, I just found it a very frustrating read. In Spain a girl who was set adrift by a mysterious monk and never knew her parents gets involved in a passionate love affair that leads to tragedy and murder. Contes Cruels Marquis de Sade - Dorci, or The Vagaries of Chance - One of the better conte cruels I've read, with an ironic, tragic twist. A charitable Count aids a poor family who's father has been falsely accused of murder, with terrible unintended consequences. Charles Baudelaire - Mademoiselle Scalpel - A strange, brief little story that's a bit anticlimactic but still effective. A doctor meets a woman with a very strange fetish. Catulle Mendès - The Penitent - Another brief episode. A young woman, just finished committing a sin, decides to flaunt it in a church. Villiers de l’Isle-Adam - The Astonishing Moutonnet Couple - A tale of twisted sexual sexual desire about a husband who tries to get his wife beheaded. Jean Richepin - Constant Guignard - One of the funniest stories in the collection, one I'd read previously, but it's worth a re-read. A man trying to do good causes havoc and tragedy everywhere he goes. Charles Cros - The Hanged Man - A humorous story, about a man who tries to break a streak of bad luck in a very strange fashion. Jules Lermina - Monsieur Mathias - One of the best humorous stories in the book. A man trying to catch his wife having an affair goes to extreme lengths. Leon Bloy - A Burnt Offering - Another excellent story I'd read elsewhere. The humor of this conte cruel is far blacker than the others here and reminds me of something one might expect in an issue of Tales From the Crypt. A father who retires to find a way to console millionaires, with an equally money-grubbing son receives a sort of cruel justice. J.K. Huysmans - A Family Treat - The shortest entry in this collection, and certainly one of the most potent. Very decadent. A man imagines the possibilities for a scientific discovery concerning a chemical found in decomposing animals. Edmund Haraucourt - The Prisoner of his Own Masterpiece - This is one of the better stories here, a pretty grisly one too. It's manic style reminds me a bit of Poe. A man decides to kill his wife who he is convinced is having an affair -- it goes wrong quite badly. Contes fantastiques La Harpe - Jacques Cazotte’s Prophecy - A brief story of a man predicting doom for everyone at a dinner party. Charles Nodier - The Story of Hélène Gillet - This one is a bit different from the others. It's less of a horror tale, although there are horrific elements, and more of an account. Yet I can't help thinking the author himself is being a bit ironic and kidding us a bit at the end, those old times weren't really that great were they? A man recounts the story of a girl set to be executed, but whom a nun is convinced will be spared by God. Gérard de Nerval - The Green Monster - This is my first encounter with Nerval, and although this isn't one of the best stories here, it certainly hasn't put me off from reading more of him. This one is even a bit more traditional horror. A policeman investigates a cursed house and thinks he has cleared it of evil, but he has only brought it onto himself. Erckman-Chatrian - The Invisible Eye - This is a classic horror story, and a re-read for me. A young artist starts to suspect that a series of suicides at an inn across the street are caused by a quiet old woman who lives in an identical house nextdoor to him. Henri Rivière - The Reincarnation of Doctor Roger - A really odd little entry here, I wouldn't say it's too horrific but it's a pretty well-written story even if it's a bit slow at first. A man wanders the streets, causing havoc because he is convinced that people he sees are reincarnations of the same people he knew years before. Guy de Maupassant - The Head of Hair - This was another re-read for me, but this is easily one of the most horrific stories here, and one of the most risqué stories of the period I've encountered. A man goes mad after making a strange discovery in a secret drawer of an old antique bureau. Théophile Gautier - Mademoiselle Dafné - Gautier loves elaborate, decadent description here. This one started out a bit slow, but it's got a great ending and plenty of eerie, visually evocative Gothic tropes in the second half. A strange, beautiful socialite disappears from Paris, showing up in a gloomy old Italian villa where some dark deeds start to take place. Jean Lorrain - One Possessed - An erotic story of obsession and madness. It's one of those decadent stories, making constant references to art and Green myths. It has some clammy weirdness at times, but at others my eyes glazed over a bit. Following the mysterious death of a withdrawn collector, his diary reveals a strange obsession that led him down some strange paths.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    Every short story in this book was better than the last (with the exception of one.) This has it all, ghouls, corpses, cremations, burials, lots and lots of forlorn love and unrequainted love, butchery, fetish and necrophilic undertones and not to mention lots of be-heading and guillotine aciton. I love spooky stories but am naturally a coward so I seek out ones that still allow me to sleep at night. This book is Old World Poe throughout and full of wit and comedy. Some of these horror stories e Every short story in this book was better than the last (with the exception of one.) This has it all, ghouls, corpses, cremations, burials, lots and lots of forlorn love and unrequainted love, butchery, fetish and necrophilic undertones and not to mention lots of be-heading and guillotine aciton. I love spooky stories but am naturally a coward so I seek out ones that still allow me to sleep at night. This book is Old World Poe throughout and full of wit and comedy. Some of these horror stories even have happy endings but it was the events and sensations you felt while reading them which give happy chills. This is the book of books when your in the mood for one of those spooky and rich Autumn reads. Some of the stories are very short and all play on your senses. Also I found a lot of really interesting authors as a result and hope to read their other works.

  4. 5 out of 5

    XPHAIEA.

    Hale's vision for this collection was to encompass a wide selection of authors, but predominantly include tales which hadn't previously been translated into English. This results in a collection which is fairly patchy for my liking, not all the stories are as satisfying to read in their own right, but it does serve as a smorgasbord of French writing. The horror in the title isn't the kind of horror we might necessarily think of now, it is often more macabre or shocking gallows humour - rather than Hale's vision for this collection was to encompass a wide selection of authors, but predominantly include tales which hadn't previously been translated into English. This results in a collection which is fairly patchy for my liking, not all the stories are as satisfying to read in their own right, but it does serve as a smorgasbord of French writing. The horror in the title isn't the kind of horror we might necessarily think of now, it is often more macabre or shocking gallows humour - rather than Lovecraftian, I did at times feel that it was a bit of a stretch to label some of these as 'horror'. My favourites in the collection were towards the latter end of the book - those by Theophile Gautier and Erckmann-Chatrian, the later which was very Hoffmannesque and the former a sumptuous and gothic tale. The last offering from Jean Lorrain was also excellent.

  5. 5 out of 5

    dreamer of art

    Excellent selection and expertly translated from the French. This collection leans a bit towards the French decadent movement in its selections, I found, and in its prevailing unsettling mood throughout the stories, you get a much more diverse take on the horror genre; something which I appreciated. The 19th Century French Horror herein, includes stories from the genres: conte fantastique, frénétique stories, and the conte cruel. I can read French but I'm someone who likes reading books in Engli Excellent selection and expertly translated from the French. This collection leans a bit towards the French decadent movement in its selections, I found, and in its prevailing unsettling mood throughout the stories, you get a much more diverse take on the horror genre; something which I appreciated. The 19th Century French Horror herein, includes stories from the genres: conte fantastique, frénétique stories, and the conte cruel. I can read French but I'm someone who likes reading books in English translations, too. What the author has captured here is a kind of unsettling atmosphere much to be found in 19th Century French fiction. Definitely a book I will be coming back to again and again. I leave you with an excerpt from the spot-on introduction, which does much to explain what this collection is all about: "Indeed, if horror fiction is a vehicle for exploring forbidden themes – a claim which will be put forward here – then it would not be untrue to claim that French writers in the nineteenth century proved themselves every bit as inventive as their British and American counterparts of the same period. One should not, of course, necessarily expect them to explore precisely the same themes though. Indeed, it might be legitimate to enquire whether such perennial favourites – with their clear insistence on the supernatural – as Gautier’s The Dead in Love or Maupassant’s The Horla are as representative of French horror writing as we like to imagine they are. As dramatic and successful as these tales may be, they represent but one strand of horror fiction – that which came to be known in the 1830s as the conte fantastique – in nineteenth-century France. There are at least two other strands of equal if not greater significance which we ignore at our peril: the frénétique (or frenetic) story, with its strong melodramatic appeal, of the 1820s and 1830s (against which in a sense the conte fantastique was directly competing); and the conte cruel (what we might think of in English as grim little moral fables) which came to the fore half-a-century later (though the tradition is much older). As we shall see, neither of these two other strands are reliant on the supernatural to quite the same extent."

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jorge Villarruel

    Some are but most are not great stories, and none is bad, either. They're not fun as we understand fun today, but they are interesting and somehow deep. They're their own thing. Did you know Charles Baudelaire wrote fiction as well as poetry and non-fiction? There is a fine example here. I don't know if you will like this collection, but I do know one thing: you deserve to know it.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    A fascinating and edifying mix of stories. The big surprise is how much humor is used in so many of them! Great resource.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Claudia Piña

    3.5

  9. 5 out of 5

    Oiseaux Invisibles

  10. 5 out of 5

    Masyhur Hilmy

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kip

  12. 5 out of 5

    David

  13. 5 out of 5

    Endri

  14. 5 out of 5

    Adriana

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kislomad

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tim Newton

  17. 4 out of 5

    Harold Gathercole

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kaci

  19. 4 out of 5

    Angus Macdonald

  20. 4 out of 5

    Bryan Clark

  21. 5 out of 5

    Shaun

  22. 4 out of 5

    Greta

  23. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

  24. 4 out of 5

    Brendan Connell

  25. 4 out of 5

    Spookdawg9

  26. 5 out of 5

    Denman G.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lamprini

  29. 5 out of 5

    Teun

  30. 5 out of 5

    Steve

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