by Jean Lorrain
When Jean Lorrain (1855-1906) was recruited to the stable of writers assembled by Catulle Mendès to supply L’Écho de Paris with material on a weekly basis, in July 1890, he joined in readily with the experimental spirit of that enterprise, exploring various narrative strategies that could be employed in fitting work to slots that varied in length between 1,000 and 2,000 words. The contributions to the paper that he signed with his own name were soon outnumbered by the items that he signed “Raitif de la Bretonne,” in honor of the prolifically innovative Nicolas-Edmé Restif de la Bretonne (1734-1806), most of whose publications had appeared without the royal warrant necessary prior to the 1789 Revolution for works to be printed and sold legally.
Presented here, for the first time in English or any other language, are sixteen of the pieces Lorrain wrote under the “Raitif de la Bretonne,” by-line, collected and translated by Brian Stableford, the contents of the present volume partaking in the same meticulously perverse point of view that were the author’s unique literary hallmark, thus performing the valuable function of offering readers an eccentric sampling of the his heretofore “lost” work.
About the Author
Jean Lorrain (1855-1906) was the pseudonym of Paul Alexandre Martin Duval. He was one of the leading figures of the Decadent Movement and the author of numerous novels, volumes of poetry and short stories. At one point he was probably the highest paid journalist in France. Though mostly remembered today for his famous duel with Marcel Proust, he might be seen as the true chronicler of the fin-de-siècle. His short story collections Nightmares of an Ether-Drinker and The Soul-Drinker and Other Decadent Fantasies were previously published by Snuggly Books.
About the Translator
Brian Stableford has been publishing fiction and non-fiction for fifty years. His fiction includes a series of “tales of the biotech revolution” and a series of metaphysical fantasies featuring Edgar Poe’s Auguste Dupin. He has previously translated for Snuggly Books a number of titles, including The Soul-Drinker and Other Decadent Fantasies, by Jean Lorrain, and The Unknown Collaborator and Other Legendary Tales, by Victor Joly.