Babels, Balloons and Innocent EyesCharles Morice
fantasy, mainstream, short stories
Translated by Brian Stableford.
Charles Morice (1860-1919), a Symbolist writer and art critic who was an early champion of people such as Paul Verlaine, Rodin, Pablo Picasso and Paul Gauguin, produced during his lifetime a great deal of literature, but only a single volume of short prose pieces, Quincaille, from which the stories and prose-poems in this current volume are taken, translated into English by Brian Stableford for the first time.
Morice’s prose poems and short stories frequently blend the lachrymose and the cynical in a distinctive alloy, shaped by his particular Symbolist method and Decadent style, which bring many of his confessional pieces close to a surreal stream-of-consciousness that was somewhat ahead of its time, but his works span a broad and rich spectrum, illustrated by the selections translated herein.
Charles Morice was born into a devout Catholic family, but split with his relatives when he eloped to Paris in 1882, and lost his faith. He began writing for the anticlerical La Nouvelle Revue gauche, which changed its name to Lutèce with his encouragement, and published Verlaine’s Poètes maudits as well as offering vocal support to the Symbolist Movement before it folded in 1886. He subsequently assisted in the foundation of the Mercure de France. He was better known for his essays than his poetry, but his visionary fantasy Il est resusscité (1911; tr. as He is Risen Again) and the collections Quincaille (Albert Mesein, 1914) and Rideau de pourpre (1921) are notable.