by Delphi Fabrice
Translated by Brian Stableford
The Red Sorcerer, originally published as a 64-part feuilleton serial in Le Journal between 31 July 1910 and 3 October 1910, and here appearing in English for the first time in an expert translation by Brian Stableford, is one of the more extreme entries in author Delphi Fabrice’s already highly unusual canon.
Perhaps the most spectacularly peculiar manifestation of Fabrice’s fervent desire to test and extend the limits of the permissible and the conventional in his fiction, The Red Sorcerer is a showpiece of crime and vice in which he removes the gloves of discretion completely, setting out to depict the world of prostitutes and their pimps with a frank and extreme brutality—so frank and so extreme, in fact, that it required a strange supernaturalization completely at odds with his supposed Naturalism. Though the novel is certainly very unsavory, it is also quite extraordinary and thus worthy of attention as a specimen of the Decadent world view, and of a grim and relentless authorial sadism that tempts the suspicion that a complex psychology must lie behind it.
About the Author
“Delphi Fabrice” (the pseudonym of Gaston-Henri-Adhémar Risselin, 1877-1937) began his literary career as an art critic with Les Peintres de Bretagne (1898), before becoming involved in the Decadent Movement, under the aesthetic of which he composed a number of works, including L’Araignée rouge (1903), the one-act drama Clair de lune (1903), which was co-written by Jean Lorrain, Fabrice’s mentor, and La sorcier rouge (1910). Under the need for money, he gradually turned his attention romance novels, novels of adventure geared towards a juvenile audience, and “cine-novels” (adaptations of films into photo-novels). In all, he is credited with writing over 120 books.