An omnibus of The Demi-Sexes and The Androgynes. Translated by Brian Stableford.
Presented here in English for the first time, in a bravura translation by Brian Stableford, are two highly unusual novels from one of the fin-de-siècle's most eccentric writers.
The Demi-Sexes, originally published in 1897, was the first of Jane de La Vaudère's novels seriously to explore the territory of the conventionally unmentionable, which it does forthrightly, in its first chapter, when its heroine, Camille, asks a doctor, in secret, for "an operation."
The Androgynes, first published in 1903, a tale of faithfulness and fickleness amidst the vicious rivalries of the literary and artistic worlds, presents a lush and decadent Paris, replete with cross-dressers, opium smoking, and a provocative miscellany of amour.
Intensely interesting and intriguing, with their zestful mixture of tragic lamentation and ostentatious outrage, The Demi-Sexes and The Androgynes remain captivatingly readable and are sure to be found daring even by today's standards.
Jane de la Vaudère was baptized Jeanne Scrive and was married to Camille Gaston Crapez, who began styling himself Crapez de la Vaudère after inheriting the Château de la Vaudère from his mother. Her prolific literary work is very various but she was assimilated to the Decadent Movement firstly because of two scandalously scabrous Parisian novels, Les Demi-Sexes (1897) and Les Andrognyes (1903), and, more pertinently, because of a series of accounts of moeurs antiques, some of which - notably Le Mystère de Kama (1901) - set new standards of excess in their exotic eroticism and fascination with torture.