Translated by Brian Stableford.
No other writer of the fin-de-siècle period undertook a more elaborate exploration of perversities and abnormalities than Jean Lorrain, and no one else went as far afield in the search for discoveries of that curious kind than he did. Perhaps, given the variety of human behavior, it was not possible for him actually to invent perversities that no one actually practiced, or were even tempted to practice, but what is certain is that no one ever examined the anatomy of eroticism, including its wilder extremes, with a greater analytical fervor.
In this, the second collection of short stories by Jean Lorrain to be made available in English, exquisitely translated by Brian Stableford, psychological studies of amorous perversity are presented together with mock-folktales, giving further evidence of the amazing inventiveness and imagination of one of the key figures of the Decadent Movement.
Jean Lorrain (1855-1906), born Paul Alexandre Martin Duval, was a French poet and novelist of the Symbolist school.
Lorrain was a dedicated disciple of dandyism, and openly gay. He contributed to the satirical weekly Le Courrier français. Lorrain wrote a number of collections of verse, including La forêt bleue (1883) and L'ombre ardente, (1897). He is also remembered for his Decadent novels and short stories, such as Monsieur de Phocas (1901) and Histoires des masques (1900), as well as for one of his best novels, Sonyeuse, which he links to portraits exhibited by Antonio de La Gándara in 1893. He also wrote the libretto to Pierre de Bréville's 1910 opera Éros vainqueur.