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My Fantoms [Paperback]

By Theophile Gautier & Richard Holmes (Translator)
Our Price $ 11.90  
Retail Value $ 14.00  
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Item Number 426216  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   194
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.5" Width: 5.25" Height: 8.5"
Weight:   0.5 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Aug 5, 2008
Publisher   NYRB Classics
ISBN  159017271X  
EAN  9781590172711  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Romantic provocateur, flamboyant bohemian, precocious novelist, perfect poet—not to mention an inexhaustible journalist, critic, and man-about-town—Théophile Gautier is one of the major figures, and great characters, of French literature.

In My Fantoms Richard Holmes, the celebrated biographer of Shelley and Coleridge, has found a brilliantly effective new way to bring this great bu too-little-known writer into English. My Fantoms assembles seven stories spanning the whole of Gautier's career into a unified work that captures the essence of his adventurous life and subtle art. From the erotic awakening of “The Adolescent” through “The Poet,” a piercing recollection of the mad genius Gérard de Nerval, the great friend of Gautier's youth, My Fantoms celebrates the senses and illuminates the strange disguises of the spirit, while taking readers on a tour of modernity at its most mysterious. ”What ever would the Devil find to do in Paris?” Gautier wonders. “He would meet people just as diabolical as he, and find himself taken for some naïve provincial…”

Tapestries, statues, and corpses come to life; young men dream their way into ruin; and Gautier keeps his faith in the power of imagination: “No one is truly dead, until they are no longer loved.”
"Gautier was a leading writer of the Romantic movement and forms a bridge between the supernatural fiction of Goethe and E.T.A. Hoffmann and the pivotal pulp magazine Weird Tales."-Cynthia Ward

"Théophile Gautier was one of the most important writers of fantastic tales in France during the Romantic period."-The Modern Language Journal

"It is in Théophile Gautier that we first seem to find an authentic French sense of the unreal world, and here there appears a spectral mystery which, though not continuously
used, is recognizable at once as something alike genuine and profound." -H. P. Lovecraft

Gautier writes "...stories of remarkable artistry, rich in irony and nostalgia, in which the subtle play of passion with terror is expressed in a precise, elegant prose style." —The Penguin Encyclopedia of Horror & the Supernatural
Théophile Gautier (1811—1872) was a poet, novelist, art critic, and one of the most prominent French Romantic writers of the nineteenth century. He originally studied as a painter but his friendship with Nerval and Hugo turned him toward a career in literature. By his twenties he had become a leading figure in the Jeune-France group, and the publication of Mademoiselle de Maupin in 1836 placed him at the heart of the Parisian literary world. Apart from his weekly journalist contributions to La Presse for twenty years, he worked on comedies, pantomimes, ballet scenarios, and produced novels, stories, and travel books.

Richard Holmes is the author of Shelley: The Pursuit, for which he won the Somerset Maugham Prize in 1974; Dr Johnson and Mr. Savage, which won the 1993 James Tait Black Prize; and Coleridge: Early Visions, winner of the 1989 Whitbread Book of the Year Prize. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1992. He lives in London and Norwich with the novelist Rose Tremain. He is also a professor of biographical studies at the University of East Anglia.

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More About Theophile Gautier & Richard Holmes

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Pierre Jules Theophile Gautier; 30 August 1811 - 23 October 1872) was a French poet, dramatist, novelist, journalist, art critic and literary critic. While Gautier was an ardent defender of Romanticism, his work is difficult to classify and remains a point of reference for many subsequent literary traditions such as Parnassianism, Symbolism, Decadence and Modernism. He was widely esteemed by writers as diverse as Balzac, Baudelaire, the Goncourt brothers, Flaubert, Proust and Oscar Wilde.

Theophile Gautier was born in 1811 and died in 1872.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Gautier's Demons  Aug 5, 2008
The New York Review of Books publishers continue their great series of classics revivals with My Fantoms by Theophile Gautier. The short stories were published in France from 1832 to 1867 and are wonderfully introduced, translated, and updated by Richard Holmes. The stories involve the undead and unholy manipulating and interfering with the lives of adolescents, painters, clergy, journalists, actors, tourists, and poets.

Gautier's style is romantic, humorous, and ironic and quickly involves the reader in the fantasies of the characters. These fantasies often occur in dreams that lead to temporary or permanent madness. They are worth the stress, though, because of the sexual ecstasy and obsessive love that often result.

There is a fundamental tension in each story between the characters' rational work and irrational experiences. Holmes points out in the Introduction that the tension is somewhat autobiographical. Gautier was a hard working journalist who wrote a weekly column for a Paris publication for thirty years and also was a free spirited author of many works of fiction. My Fantoms' cover art represents the two beautiful Italian sisters Gautier loved: one was an opera singer who lived with him and shared his day to day routines, and the other was a dancer who traveled internationally frequently sending him love letters.

Holmes writes in the Postscript that the seven stories are strange and mysterious implying they are somewhat difficult to interpret from a rational point of view. But, in the following passage from the story "The Painter," Gautier shows the reader how to understand the characters' experiences in all the stories. "...he was capable of becoming one of the greatest of our artists; but instead he only became one of the strangest of our madmen. He had questioned his own existence too closely and too curiously; almost invariably he injected everyday events with some grotesque element of his own fantasy."

You can enter the realm of madness in a number of dimensions as you read the great collection of stories written by a master of the rational/irrational. Gautier will show you that the demons most threatening to sanity are the desires that dwell within our minds.


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