With an Introduction and Afterword by Francis Amery (Brian Stableford)
Monsieur de Phocas (1901) has been ranked with Huysmans’ À Rebours (1884) as the summation of the French Decadent Movement. In the novel, Jean Lorrain presents experiences of the darker side of his life in Paris as the adventures of the Duc de Fréneuse (Phocas) and his relationship with the svengaliesque English painter Claudius Ethal.
Jean Lorrain, born into a shipping family in Normandy in 1855, changed his name to keep his family out of the literary controversy he courted. In his writing and life he cultivated a kind of fascinated loathing for the decadence of fin de siècle Paris: in the words of Hubert Juin, he ‘loved his epoch to the point of detestation.’
Frances Amery’s sumptuous translation brings to life the grotesque, glittering world of Monsieur de Phocas’s journal, and Amery’s masterly Introduction and Afterword describe Lorrain’s place in Montmartre, Paris and the wider literary world.
Illustration on jacket and boards by Alastair.