The original novel was published in 1857. Translated by Brian Stableford.
Histoires ténébreuses by Victor Joly, here translated as The Unknown Collaborator and Other Legendary Tales, was first published in Brussels by Auguste Schnee & Co. in 1857. It collects three novellas and a short story, all affiliated, albeit a trifle belatedly and more than a little ironically, to the Romantic Movements of France and Germany, fusing the two influences in a fashion that only a Belgian writer was likely to attempt, and thus producing a hybrid whose distinctiveness is particularly obvious in the first two stories in the collection, each of which makes a significant contribution to the rich tradition of Romantic satanic fantasies.
Vincent-Victor Joly (1807-1870), was born in Brussels where, in the 1830s, he built his reputation as a journalist and playwright, cultivating a strong interest in Belgian history and legendry episodes, which he dramatized in several plays and a number of short novels. He also published tourist guides to his homeland. The last of his works of fiction was Histoires ténèbreueses [Dark Stories], here translated as The Unknown Collaborator and Other Legendary Tales. The title story is a fine Faustian fantasy, and “The End of a Story of which the Beginning is Familiar” is a highly original fantasy featuring the seven-league boots of legend.