!!> Reading ➵ The Scaffold And Other Cruel Tales ➭ Author Villiers de L'Isle-Adam – Marjoriejane.co.uk

The Scaffold And Other Cruel Tales chapter 1 The Scaffold And Other Cruel Tales , meaning The Scaffold And Other Cruel Tales , genre The Scaffold And Other Cruel Tales , book cover The Scaffold And Other Cruel Tales , flies The Scaffold And Other Cruel Tales , The Scaffold And Other Cruel Tales 004d22f4df269 In This Collection Of Cruel Tales, We Meet A Unique And Colorful Cast Of Extraordinary Characters Such As Akedysseril The Queen Of India, Mayeris The Big Game Hunter Who Capured The Sacred White Elephant, Maryelle The Courtesan, Catalina The Gypsy Toast Of Santander, Mahoin The Brigand, The Murderous Doctor Hallidon, Grand Inquisitor Tomas De Torquemada And Tomolo Ki Ki The Antipodean Who Traversed The Earth The Comte De Villiers De L Isle Adam 1838 1889 , Pioneer Of The Symbolist Movement, Is Known For His Proto Science Fiction Works Axel 1885 And L Eve Future 1886 He Also Wrote Many Cruel Tales, Only A Handful Of Which Have Ever Been Translated Before This Publication Of The Scaffold Poet Paul Verlaine Called Villiers Works A Genial Melange Of Irony, Metaphysics And Terror And Translator Brian Stableford Dubs It A Bizarre Literary Landmark Brian Stableford Has Published Than Fifty Novels And Two Hundred Short Stories This Book Is The First English Language Edition, And Includes An Authoritative Introduction And Historical Notes.


10 thoughts on “The Scaffold And Other Cruel Tales

  1. says:

    French dramatist, novelist and teller of tales, Auguste Villiers de L Isle Adam 1838 1889 was one of the most inventive, creative writers of the nineteenth century, Refusing to be pigeonholed, he placed a premium on imaginative, experimental storytelling, expanding his unique literary voice, a voice simultaneously behind and ahead of his time As Brian Stableford notes in his introduction to this collection of over two dozen tales most peculiar and distinctive, Villiers was always a writer who sought to avoid conventional themes and narrative frameworks no matter how far his circumstances were reduced and there were times when he went hungry for days the one thing he was always determined to do was to write as no one had ever written before, experimenting with both narrative technique and subject matter Below are snapshots from six of his extraordinary tales The Secret of the ScaffoldThe famous Doctor Velpeau pays a visit to the cell of a condemned criminal, who, as it turns out, is also a medical man Doctor Edmond Desire Couty de la Pommerais Since, as Doctor Velpeau explains, they are both men of science, a great benefit to society could be gained if he, Couty, would agree to give him, Velpeau, a special signal of awareness by blinking one eye after the fatal blow of the guillotine When Couty hesitates, the good doctor asks Couty to think the matter over The next morning, prior to the condemned being led out to the scaffold, Doctor Velpeau returns Thereupon seeing the esteemed physician, Couty exclaims I have been practicing look And while the order of execution was being read out, he held his right eyelid shut, while fixing the surgeon with the gaze of his wide open left eye Now that s Villiers style black humor in the name of science and progress, a doctor asks a man about to lose his life if he wouldn t mind actively participating in a scientific experiment immediately after the guillotine chops off his head The Heroism of Doctor HallidonhillVilliers is a forerunner of the turn of the century literary Decadents, such as Joris Karl Huysmans, Jean Lorrain, Octave Mirbeau, in his disdain for the positivist scientific philosophy that was all the rage back in the late nineteenth century, a philosophy optimistically envisioning technology, science and modernism as the full flower of humanity and the savior of mankind In this tale, Doctor Hallidonhill will take any step necessary, no matter how ghastly or grisly, to contribute scientific and medical evidence for the improvement of mankind Indeed, one of his patients walks into his office ravaged by nature hacking, coughing, looking like a living skeleton The good doctor proposes an exotic cure Months later the patient, robust, radiating health, returns to thank Doctor Hallidonall, but his return proves to be a grave mistake the patient has underestimated the doctor s dedication to his practice above all else This short tale could serve as the basis for a Philip K Dick style novel The Lovely Ardiane s Secret Here we have a tale where Villiers provides his own cynical twist to shatter the traditional notion that happiness flows from honesty and virtue The young, innocent Ardiane, a Basque girl of humble origins, fall in love with a pale skinned, bold eyed virtuous guard by the name of Pier Events transpire to bring the two lovers together they eventually marry and have a child Ah, love ah, romance But wait what exactly were the circumstances and events that transpired Ardiane lays it all out to her Pier she herself caused buildings to burn and neighbors to perish all as a necessary step so she could meet and marry and have a child with Pier Pier is initially horrified and turns against her, however, as Villiers writes But the Basque woman was so ardently beautiful that by five o clock in the morning or thereabouts too persuasive desires having blinded the young man s conscience little by little her terrible campaign came to seem to him to be the endowments of a heroic heart In brief, Pier Albrun weakened in the face of the delightful Ardiane Inferal and forgave her Ah, love ah, family The Elect of DreamsMediocre, uninspired, unartistic minds demand to see all, leaving nothing to the imagination mediocre, uninspired, unartistic minds demand mechanical, naturalistic explanations, leaving nothing to the imagination Such is the spirit of this charming Villiers tribute to a young poet, Alexis Dufrene, and the power of imagination to surpass all such mundane explanations The tale begins with Alexis in his garret joined by two friends, Breart, a painter and Nedonchel, a musician These two friends hear a sound from an adjoining apartment and insist on seeing what is going on in there Alexis blocks there way, exclaiming that beyond the door there is a king and his treasure and if they dare to enter and insist on seeing the resident of the apartment for themselves, they will never be real artists The friends laugh, ignore his plea and barge right in Alexis reflects Out of disdain for the Imaginary, which is the only reality for any artist, who knows how to command life to conform to it, they prefer to postpone their sensations until they can see what s there Continuing to value his imagination and dreams as if they were a treasure chest of rare gems, later in the story, by a twist of great fortune, Alexis is handed a real treasure that enables the poet to travel to an exotic land and become a king Meanwhile, what is the fate of his two friends Villiers end the tale with these words Breart and Nedonchel are still in Paris Both of them noble aesthetes, stay up late every evening in the depths of taverns haunted by the young writers of the future, to whom they strive to demonstrate, by means of theoretical conclusions that it is always necessary to see things as they are Indeed, Villiers pens this fairytale like short story as a hymn to artistic imagination, which is most fitting since imagination was the author s life long polestar as he set about creating his own body of highly original writing That Mahoin Now here is a tale most cruel A famous, infamous criminal is so unbelievably monstrous, so brutal, destructive, heinous, odious and wicked that when he is finally captured, his execution by guillotine draws thousands upon thousands of spectators, the entire town is too small to hold such a throng But the public insists on seeing the spectacle Men in the attics cut holes in the roofs and pop their heads out, eyes in the direction of the condemned man Villiers writes Through the thousands of holes thus created thousands of talking but seemingly decapitated heads appeared, directing their eyes towards the place of execution and fixing their gazes upon the bandit without him being able for the moment, to comprehend where the bodies could be to which those heads belonged What happens next is a stroke no pun intended of storytelling genius Thank you, Villiers de L lsle Adam Monsieur Redoux s PhantasmsAn odd tale Upon leaving a dinner party in London where he is visiting, Monsieur Redoux, a corpulent businessman from Paris, finds himself in a wax museum The museum is about to close, but in a fit of inspiration or madness Monsieur Redoux decides to stay among the wax figures since, after all, several of the wax figures are French Kings and Queens As Villiers writes, It was as if some kind of dark jester within his skull had suddenly shaken his bells and he had not the slightest inclination to resist One way of reading this tale is to see the author anticipating what psychologist Carl Jung termed the archetypes the magician, the trickster, the king, the warrior, the lover and how any one of these archetypes can overtake a personality as the trickster archetype overtakes the tale s bourgeois Frenchman.


  2. says:

    I discovered pretty early on that the author wrote most of these stories in a sort of tongue in cheek fashion, making for great reading I will have lots of time this coming week it s been crazy here to play catch up and post about it, but for now I would read anything by this man it s that good.


  3. says:

    A few of the stories in this collection by French storyteller and occasional fantasist are quite good and all of them are nicely translated by Brian Stableford Too many of the tales though are very mild in their effect, falling short of the cynicism and wit that characterize the best of them These are generally later stories by the writer, some penned to capitalize on the success of his original contes cruels and others written for other intents, so some of the disappointment here may come from thwarted expectation or the necessity to fill out a volume Stableford gets huge points for including extensive notes explaining some of the nearly forgotten lore woven into the stories and elucidating the finer points of his translations when they are not obvious from the English Though not all the stories are gems, I am very glad to have had the opportunity to read even the least of them because they carry the flavor of their time absinthe and cheap perfume mostly and they are not otherwise available in translation.


  4. says:

    The flourish of the Hamish Miles translation is about as good as the simpler but equally well crafted A.W Raitt.


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