Les Diaboliques (short story collection)
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
"Two works in particular of Barbey d'Aurevilly's fired Des Esseintes' imagination: the Prêtre marié ("Married Priest") and the Diabolique. Others, such as l'Ensorcelé ("The Bewitched"), the Chevalier des Touches, Une vieille Maîtresse ("An Old Mistress"), were no doubt better balanced and more complete works, but they appealed less warmly to Des Esseintes, who was genuinely interested only in sickly books with health undermined and exasperated by fever. In these comparatively sane volumes Barbey d'Aurévilly was perpetually tacking to and fro between those two channels of Catholicism which eventually run into one,—mysticism and Sadism." -- À rebours, translation by Havelock Ellis
Les Diaboliques (Eng: The She-Devils) is a French language 1874 short stories collection Les Diaboliques by Jules Amédée Barbey d'Aurevilly, each of which relates a tale of a woman who commits acts of violence, crime, or revenge. Les Diaboliques caused an uproar and all the copies of the book were seized on the orders of the Ministry of Justice as the book was a danger to public morality. In Les Diaboliques there are six tales of female temptresses - she-devils - in which horror and the wild Normandy countryside combine to send a shiver down the spine of the reader. The most obvious feature of Jules Barbey d'Aurevilly's collection is his peculiar horror of female sexuality. In each of these tales, women, by their erotic wiles and passionate natures, rule and brand the male narrators of the stories. These women's sexual needs are in each case the mainspring that drives tales of death, murder, or violence.
List of stories
- Le Bonheur dans le crime (Eng: Happiness in Crime): A comte falls in love with a skilled fencer and hires her as his wife's maid.
- Le Rideau cramoisi (Eng: The Crimson Curtain): An old vicomte tells a younger friend about his first sexual experience with a woman.
- Le Plus Bel Amour de Don Juan (Eng: The Greatest Love of Don Juan): An aged playboy, surrounded by past lovers, relates the tale of his greatest love affair.
- Le Dessous de cartes d'une partie de whist (Eng: The Underside of the Cards at a Game of Whist): The secret affair of a lady and an expert whist player leads to an horrific act.
- A un dîner d'athées (Eng: At a Dinner of Atheists): A French officer relates a tale of love and lust with the wife of one of his fellow officers.
- La Vengeance d'une femme (Eng: A Woman's Revenge): A wealthy princess spurns her ignoble husband by becoming a cheap prostitute.
Les Diaboliques has also been translated as Weird Women, and published by Charles Carrington in two volumes by the Lutetian Bibliophiles Society. Volume two included 'Happiness in Crime', 'A Woman's Revenge', 'Don Juan's Proudest Triumph' and 'What Lay Beneath the Cards'.
- Dedalus publishing
- Translated by Ernest Boyd
- Contributor Robert Irwin (writer)
- Published 1997
- 254 pages
- ISBN 1873982275
Illustrated by Félicien Rops
The subjects are:
- Le sphinx
- Le rideau cramoisi
- Le plus bel amour de Don Juan
- Le dessus de cartes d’une partie de wist
- A un dîner d’athées
- Le bonheur dans le crime
- La vengeance d’une femme
- La femme et la folie dominent le monde I
- La femme et la folie dominent le monde II