TALES OF TERROR by Guy de Maupassant, selected and Translated by Arnold Kellett, foreword by Ramsey Campbell. Leyburn. North Yorkshire, UK; Tartarus Press; 2008. 1st edition hardcover.
This volume collects together 32 of Guy de Maupassant's best tales of terror, in Arnold Kellet's glitteringly clear and precise translations.
Strongly influenced by the writings of E.T.A. Hoffman and Edgar Allen Poe, de Maupassant tapped into the craze for cathartic tales of mystery and the occult rife in France in the latter half of the nineteenth century. Born into a Norman family of relative wealth and privilege, he had seen the darker side of life while serving in the French army during the Franco-Prussian War. He was part of Gustav Flaubert's literary circle during the 1870s, wherein he honed his craft, before launching a stream of successful writings on the public during the 1880s. This procured for him fame, financial security and the means to travel. But the seeds of destruction were already in him-de Maupassant had lived a debauched life, dabbling in drugs, and contracted syphilis during his twenties. Towards the end of his short life, the disease attacked his brain, producing blinding headaches, then hallucinations. He cut his own throat, was declared insane, and died in an asylum in Paris in July 1893 at 42 years of age.
His fear of what might lie in wait for him suffuses de Maupassant's stories with psychological verisimilitude, injecting a 'terrible clarity' into such chillers as 'The Horla'. Although many of the stories are tinged with pessimism and misanthropy, they can also be read as courageous cries of anguish and protest. And there are moments of great beauty and compassion. Indisputably one of the masters of the macabre, de Maupassant should appeal to all who enjoy the very best strange fiction.
Tales of Terror is a sewn hardback book of 283+ xiv pages with silk ribbon marker, head and tailbands, and d/w. Limited to 300 copies.
Contents: 'Foreword' by Ramsey Campbell, 'Introduction' by Arnold Kellett, 'The Horla', 'The Devil', 'Two Friends', 'Fear', 'The Hand', 'Coco', 'The Mannerism', 'The Madwoman', 'Mohammed-Fripouille', 'The Blind Man', 'At Sea', 'Apparition', 'Saint-Antoine', 'The Wolf', 'Terror', 'The Diary of a Madman', 'A Vendetta', 'The Smile of Schopenhauer', 'On the River', 'He?', 'Old Milon', 'The Head of Hair', 'The Inn', 'Mother Savage', 'Was he Mad?', 'The Dead Girl', 'Mademoiselle Cocotte', 'A Night in Paris', 'The Case of Louise Roque', 'The Drowned Man', 'Who Knows?', 'Mademoiselle Perle', 'Notes'.
Dr Arnold Kellett studied at the Sorbonne and the University of Liverpool, where he took a first class honours degree in French Language and Literature.
"It's easy to see why Maupassant was regarded as France's best short story writer. . . . A splendid collection from a classic author." Andrew McQuade, Gorezone
Fine in fine dj.