Translated by Brian Stableford.
Renée Vivien and her lover Hélène de Zuylen de Nyevelt collaborated on two volumes of short prose, Copeaux and Netsuké, which, translated for the first time into English by Brian Stableford, are here brought together in a single volume. Filled with extravagant exercises in symbolism and bitter-sweet narratives that often hinge on problematic confrontations between two female characters, which are simultaneously affectionate and adversarial, these tales of fantasy and Orientalia illustrate the magnitude of Renée Vivien’s literary achievement and the uncommonly broad spectrum of her interests. Faustina and Other Stories represents a uniquely acute facet of the Decadent polyhedron.
Hélène de Zuylen de Nyevelt (1863-1947) was the version of her name used on her published work by Baroness Héléne van Zulyen van Nijevet de Haar, née de Rothschild (in the famous banking family). Her early literary work, written in collaboration with Renée Vivien, was published under the pseudonym Paul Riversadale, but she went on to produce poetry, short stories, novels and plays under her own name, all of it heavily influenced by Vivien, including the items she published after the latter’s death, scrupulously echoing the younger writer’s Decadent and Symbolist leanings.