French Decadent Tales

Front Cover
Stephen Romer
OUP Oxford, May 9, 2013 - Fiction - 231 pages
"He had become the dandy of the unpredictable."
A quest for new sensations--and an avowed desire to shock--possessed the Decadent writers of fin-de-siecle Paris. Indeed, the years 1880-1900 saw an extraordinary, hothouse flowering of talent, that produced some of the most exotic, stylized, and cerebral literature in the French language. Death and Eros haunt these pages, and a polymorphous perversity by turns hilarious and horrifying. Their stories teem with addicts, maniacs, and murderers as they strive to outdo each other.
This marvelous selection by Stephen Romer-whose translations brilliantly capture the stylish wit and black humor of the originals--brings together 36 of the best decadent tales from the French fin-de-siecle, including work by well-known writers such as Maupassant, Lorrain, Mirbeau, and Villiers as well as lesser known figures such as Leon Bloy, Jean Richepin, and the Belgian Georges Rodenbach. Romer's engaging introduction provides a full context for the stories, underscoring the principal literary, philosophical, scientific, and political trends of the time, which fed into their authors' loathing of the modern world, and the discovery of the Unconscious.
The book also includes biographical notes on the authors and explanatory notes to clarify cultural references, plus a chronology of the key publications and main events of the period.
About the Series: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, voluminous notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
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Contents

INTRODUCTION
ix
NOTE ON THE SELECTION
xxxvi
SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY
xxxviii
CHRONOLOGY OF MAJOR EVENTS AND LITERARY PUBLICATIONS OF THE FRENCH FIN DE SIÈCLE
xli
FRENCH DECADENT TALES
1
JULES BARBEY DAUREVILLY
3
VILLIERS DE LISLEADAM 18381889
22
CATULLE MENDÈS
52
GUSTAVE GEFFROY
125
JEAN LORRAIN
130
GEORGES RODENBACH
148
REMY DE GOURMONT
159
JULES LAFORGUE
173
MARCEL SCHWOB
192
PIERRE LOUŸS
209
EXPLANATORY NOTES
215

LÉON BLOY
64
OCTAVE MIRBEAU
76
JEAN RICHEPIN
92
GUY DE MAUPASSANT
105
More About Oxford Worlds Classics
232
A Selection of Oxford Worlds Classics
234
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About the author (2013)

Stephen Romer is a specialist of French and British Modernism. He has published four collections of poetry, the most recent of which, Yellow Studio (Carcanet/Oxford Poets, 2008) was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot prizze. He has edited and co-translated Twentieth-Century French Poems (Faber, 2002), and has served as judge for the Tower poetry prize, the Popescu Prize for European Translation, and the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize. He reviews regularly for the Guardian and the TLS.

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