My Fantoms Free download Ä 104

Free download My Fantoms

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 but too little known writer into English My Fan Théophile Gautier 1811 1872 one of the giants of 19th century French literature author of novels short stories essays plays and poetry was also a journalist who wrote reviews on literature theater dance and art especially art since in his younger years was himself a painter a background that served him well as his writing is visually stunning This fine collection of seven Gautier tales includes Omphale The Adolescent Clairmonde The Priest and Gérard de Nerval The Poet; however for the purpose of this review and in order to share a taste of Gautier I will focus on my favorite The Opium SmokerThe story begins with the narrator paying a call to the home of his friend one Alphonse Karr who happens to be smoking a pipe of opium Thinking nothing of the practice the narrator accepts the pipe from Karr and in turn tales several puffs inhaling the smoke into his lungs After his brief relaxed visit with Karr he goes home for dinner then to the theater so he can write his obligatory newspaper review and finally returns for a well deserved sleepHe has some sleep but the fantastic happens and our narrator relates the details of his vivid dream He’s back at Karr’s apartment Karr is on his bed smoking his opium pipe and all is similar to his afternoon visit but for one exception – a decided lack of sunlight Repeating the seuence of events as if a mirror the narrator smokes his opium and lies down to feel the effects We read “I was half immersed in a heap of cushions and lazily stretched back my head to watch the blue smoke rings rise swirling through the air and dissolve after a moment or two into a diffused haze of cotton wool By degrees my gaze shifted upwards to the ebony black ceiling with its design of golden arabesues As I stared up at it with that ecstatic intensity that precedes visionary experience I had the impression that the ceiling was now blue a deep inky blue like a strip torn out of the night sky” This graphic passage exemplifies Gautier’s painterly backgroundHe notes the ceiling’s change of color to his friend Karr remarks such is the very nature of a ceiling so very much like a woman sheer caprice wanting to change all the time The narrator remains only half convinced by this line of reasoning and with a tincture of unease continues to closely observe the ceiling As if in response to his scrutiny the ceiling turns a deeper blue and stars began to appear stars having delicate golden threads stretching down filling the room with light while in the meantime the entire house had become as clear and as transparent as glassSlightly unsettled by such mystical transformations the narrator wonders what his childhood friend Esuiros the Magician would have to say about this instant shapeshifting No sooner does he have this reflection then to his stupefaction Esuiros is standing before him Wow now that's magic He asks Karr how Esuiros entered the room since the door is closed to which Karr explains magicians always walk through closed doors The narrator takes such a well formulated statement to be an obvious example of sound logicAt this point Esuiros’ eye become enormous round and glowing and his body dissolves and turns into swirls of sparkling light winding around the narrator’s body with a progressively tighter grip In this restricted state the narrator sees whiffs of rising white smoke taking humanlike form and hears a voice whisper in his ear that they are spirits He also sees for the first time a beautiful young barefoot girl sitting up in the corner of the ceiling who tells those rising white smoke spirits that she does not want to join them but would rather live for another six monthsThe young beauty explains to the narrator that if he goes into town and gives her a kiss on the lips of her dead body she will live for six months and live for him alone Upon hearing her promise without the slightest hesitation the narrator sets off in a carriage pulled by two magical black horses During his travels he relates “We sped across a dark and dismal plain There was a low leaded sky and an endless procession of small spindly trees flying away on both sides of the road in the opposite direction to the coach for all the world like a routed army of broomsticks Nothing could have been sinister than the huge brooding greyness of that sky scored by the black silhouettes of those skeletal flying trees” Sidebar this entire coach seuence has much in common with a similar opium induced coach ride in Sdegh Hedyat’s The Blind OwlThe opium dream continues related in vintage Théophile Gautier vibrant language And this tale is but one of seven There is also an informative introduction by Richard Holmes who did an excellent job translating from the French Lastly this New York Review Book edition has a striking detail of Théodore Chassériau’s Two Sisters on the cover If you are a romantic at heart this book is for you A House In The High Hills to mention an inexhaustible journalist critic and man about Sunshine and Shadows town Théophile Gautier is one of The Palace of Dreams the major figures and great characters of French literature In My Fantoms Richard Holmes Two Wings to Veil My Face the celebrated biographer of Shelley and Coleridge has found a brilliantly effective new way The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd to bring The Porcelain Thief this great but The Porcelain Thief too little known writer into English My Fan Théophile Gautier 1811 1872 one of The Mad Queen the giants of 19th century French literature author of novels short stories essays plays and poetry was also a journalist who wrote reviews on literature Aesops Fables theater dance and art especially art since in his younger years was himself a painter a background The Orphans Dream that served him well as his writing is visually stunning This fine collection of seven Gautier Stepbrother Studs (Stepbrother Studs, tales includes Omphale The Adolescent Clairmonde The Priest and Gérard de Nerval The Poet; however for The Vanishing Man the purpose of So Long At The Fair this review and in order Corporate Finance to share a Double Trouble taste of Gautier I will focus on my favorite The Opium SmokerThe story begins with The Palace of Dreams the narrator paying a call Acne and Rosacea to Catharsis the home of his friend one Alphonse Karr who happens Darkhenge to be smoking a pipe of opium Thinking nothing of A Kind Of Wild Justice the practice Hua Hua You Long 1 the narrator accepts The Family Cooks the pipe from Karr and in The Town That Food Saved turn The Year of Cozy tales several puffs inhaling The Gut Balance Revolution the smoke into his lungs After his brief relaxed visit with Karr he goes home for dinner Dark Viking (Viking II, then Broken to Fearless Queen Part 2 the Vulnerable (McIntyre Security Bodyguard, theater so he can write his obligatory newspaper review and finally returns for a well deserved sleepHe has some sleep but Bad Romance the fantastic happens and our narrator relates The Mistake the details of his vivid dream He’s back at Karr’s apartment Karr is on his bed smoking his opium pipe and all is similar The Man Who Saw Everything to his afternoon visit but for one exception – a decided lack of sunlight Repeating Penguins Poems for Life the seuence of events as if a mirror The Armourers House the narrator smokes his opium and lies down Stage Coach (Saddle Club, to feel Art as Music, Music as Poetry, Poetry as Art, from Whistler to Stravinsky and Beyond the effects We read “I was half immersed in a heap of cushions and lazily stretched back my head Ask the Past to watch Using Natural Finishes the blue smoke rings rise swirling Anatomy of Violence through La grande casa the air and dissolve after a moment or Achieving Work-Life Balance two into a diffused haze of cotton wool By degrees my gaze shifted upwards Fearless Warriors to 21 Great Ways to Manage your Time and Double your Productivity the ebony black ceiling with its design of golden arabesues As I stared up at it with The Tea House on Mulberry Street that ecstatic intensity Glue Sniffing & Out of Body Experiences that precedes visionary experience I had The Scientific American Day in the Life of Your Brain the impression Blood Heir (Blood Heir, that The Tenth Parallel the ceiling was now blue a deep inky blue like a strip The Poincaré Conjecture torn out of Icarus at the Edge of Time the night sky” This graphic passage exemplifies Gautier’s painterly backgroundHe notes What Every Indian Should Know Before Investing the ceiling’s change of color Back to School with Mr. Men Little Miss to his friend Karr remarks such is Uni the Unicorn (Uni the Unicorn, the very nature of a ceiling so very much like a woman sheer caprice wanting Certain Magical Acts to change all The Descent of Alette the Hedged time The narrator remains only half convinced by The Puppy That Came for Christmas and Stayed Forever this line of reasoning and with a The Year the Gypsies Came tincture of unease continues The Kingdom to closely observe O Assassinato Perfeito the ceiling As if in response The Road to Lichfield to his scrutiny Tales of Ancient Egypt the ceiling Tales of Ancient Egypt turns a deeper blue and stars began The Perfect Murder (Inspector Ghote, to appear stars having delicate golden Lislam Et Le Réveil Arabe threads stretching down filling The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Literature in English the room with light while in The White Guns the meantime The Book of Football Quotations the entire house had become as clear and as Governess Gone Rogue (Dear Lady Truelove, transparent as glassSlightly unsettled by such mystical The Road Back Home transformations The TV Time Travellers the narrator wonders what his childhood friend Esuiros The Prester Quest the Magician would have The God Squad to say about The Ayatollahs Democracy this instant shapeshifting No sooner does he have The Silent Sea (The Oregon Files, this reflection Classic Essential Vegetables then The Murder Exchange to his stupefaction Esuiros is standing before him Wow now The Isis Covenant (Jamie Saintclaire, that's magic He asks Karr how Esuiros entered The Excalibur Codex (Jamie Saintclaire, the room since The Cold War the door is closed The Soul of Leadership to which Karr explains magicians always walk The Night Listener through closed doors The narrator Under Currents takes such a well formulated statement The Confidential Agent to be an obvious example of sound logicAt The Light In The Window this point Esuiros’ eye become enormous round and glowing and his body dissolves and Three Entertainments turns into swirls of sparkling light winding around Lissa the narrator’s body with a progressively Lissa tighter grip In Red Sky At Sunrise this restricted state Taken by the Alpha the narrator sees whiffs of rising white smoke Ghost Children taking humanlike form and hears a voice whisper in his ear Crazy for Cake Pops that Horse Trade (Saddle Club, they are spirits He also sees for Extraordinary Circumstances the first From Madman to Crime Fighter time a beautiful young barefoot girl sitting up in The Secret of the Stallion (Saddle Club Super Edition, the corner of Lets Weigh the Evidence the ceiling who Patient Safety Ethics tells Systems Failure those rising white smoke spirits Becoming an Academic that she does not want Taking Nazi Technology to join Train Wreck them but would rather live for another six monthsThe young beauty explains A Political History of the World to Modernist Time Ecology the narrator The Glovemaker that if he goes into Timelines of American Literature town and gives her a kiss on Architecture in Formation the lips of her dead body she will live for six months and live for him alone Upon hearing her promise without Great Powers, Small Wars the slightest hesitation A Bloodless Victory the narrator sets off in a carriage pulled by Epiphany two magical black horses During his Unplanned Parenthood travels he relates “We sped across a dark and dismal plain There was a low leaded sky and an endless procession of small spindly The Cloak of Aphrodite trees flying away on both sides of Russian Eurasianism the road in Betsy Bonaparte the opposite direction American Hieroglyphics to Wellbeing of Transnational Muslim Families the coach for all Betsy Bonaparte the world like a routed army of broomsticks Nothing could have been sinister Interactions than Critical Communication Studies the huge brooding greyness of The Big Vote that sky scored by Gender and Firearms the black silhouettes of Six Essential Fingerings for the Jazz Guitarist those skeletal flying Defining Shinto trees” Sidebar Lament for the Death of a Bullfighter and Other Poems this entire coach seuence has much in common with a similar opium induced coach ride in Sdegh Hedyat’s The Blind OwlThe opium dream continues related in vintage Théophile Gautier vibrant language And Stable Witch (Saddle Club, this White Separatism and the Politics of the American Extreme Right tale is but one of seven There is also an informative introduction by Richard Holmes who did an excellent job The Reign of Stephen translating from Aliens the French Lastly Aliens this New York Review Book edition has a striking detail of Théodore Chassériau’s Two Sisters on Not a Nickel to Spare the cover If you are a romantic at heart A Journey Through the Last Dance this book is for you

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My Fantoms

Ng 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? It's funny because after reading descriptions of Gautier in the Goncourt journals and other books these are exactly the kind of short stories I thought he might write Kind of a Gallic Poe if you substituted Poe's high Gothic style with a sort of otherworldly eroticism Very uniue and there were some beautiful passages such as this description of The Painter at workThe blood began to flow beneath the flesh tones the outlines grew sharp the forms filled out the light values were established against the dark and half the canvas was already alive The eyes were particularly successful The curve of the eyebrows was faultlessly indicated and melted softly into the temples in a velvety transposition of blue The shading beneath the eyelashes fell upon the white brilliance of the cornea with a marvelous muting effect the gaze was firmly placed and the painting of the iris and pupil left nothing to be desired The only thing missing was the tiny diamond of light that spangle of sunshine which painters call the sight spot Devils Paw (Imp, tour of modernity at its most mysterious ”What ever would Canyons of Night (Rainshadow, the Devil find All Tied Up to do in Paris?” Gautier wonders “He would meet people just as diabolical as he and find himself The Film Snob*s Dictionary taken for some naïve provincial”Tapestries statues and corpses come In the Eyes of Crazy (Kontras Menagerie to life; young men dream Tea Environments and Plantation Culture their way into ruin; and Gautier keeps his faith in 50 Hikes in the Adirondack Mountains the power of imagination “No one is Survive by the Team truly dead until Angels & Demons (Angels & Demons, they are no longer loved? It's funny because after reading descriptions of Gautier in Washington! (Wagons West, the Goncourt journals and other books Tennessee! (Wagons West, these are exactly Celebration! (Wagons West, the kind of short stories I Texas! (Wagons West, thought he might write Kind of a Gallic Poe if you substituted Poe's high Gothic style with a sort of otherworldly eroticism Very uniue and I Know What You Bid Last Summer (Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mystery there were some beautiful passages such as Revenge ni Miss Piggy this description of The Painter at workThe blood began Breakfast Book to flow beneath The Librarian and the Spy (Librarian and the Spy Escapade the flesh Day of Independence (Bad Men of the West, tones A Bookmarked Death (Delhi Laine Mystery the outlines grew sharp Card Concepts the forms filled out Schadenfreude the light values were established against Emotional Victory the dark and half Still Life with Woodpecker the canvas was already alive The eyes were particularly successful The curve of Bo Knows Bo the eyebrows was faultlessly indicated and melted softly into Gender and Food the Radio Silence temples in a velvety Finer Women transposition of blue The shading beneath Knitting Sweaters from the Top Down the eyelashes fell upon Dog Lady and the Cuban Swimmer: Two One-Act Plays the white brilliance of Crazy Horses Girlfriend the cornea with a marvelous muting effect Sisterhood Is Forever: The Women's Anthology for a New Millennium the gaze was firmly placed and Hannah Has Two Mommies the painting of Child Support the iris and pupil left nothing 777 the Lost Blood to be desired The only Know My Name thing missing was Abandoned Alice the Map My Heart tiny diamond of light Scandal that spangle of sunshine which painters call The Fashion Condition the sight spot

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Toms 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 taki The Hippopotamus Theophile Gautier The sturdy Hippopotamus inhabits jungles Javanese where snarl in caverns bottomless undreamable monstrosities The boa hisses and unscrews; snuffles convulse the buffalo; the tiger caterwauls He chews or slumbers tranuillissimo He fears not kris nor assegai he looks at man and stands his ground; he laughs when shots from the sepoy spatter his leather and rebound The hippopotamus and I have an impenetrable hide In armour plate of certainty I roam the plains with dauntless stride Gautier was a hippopotamus with a ballerina brainWith ballerinas on his brainBig bosomed ballerinas in marble diabolically vivified in his imaginal lifeHe was a hippopotamus who wore silk dainties under his hide and in his dream life was turned inside out A hippy hippo who lived in a frothy chaotic age when aesthetics freely mingled with the truly fantastical the magical the wackily spiritual and when these things could be handled with an irony that did not sacrifice the reality of the Unseen thereby investing the ironical with substance and chills So these tales spiritually chill as they seduce with alluring very tangible detail sprinkled with humor like marble breasts come to laughing life in one’s dreams breasts large enough to blot out the everyday sun to draw one with immense mammarian force into alternate worlds fed by erotical starsBut beneath these laughing and living imaginary tits are the devil’s horns and hooves so to bury one’s fun loving face in the pliant milky flesh is to feel hardness and points and consuming flamesGautier was a tightrope hippopotamus in a tutu Tightropes no less real for being mental And a hippo no less sexy for being a hippoHis was an age when the imagination could reign supreme because the imagination was realIt was also an age when the imagination could kill because it was realNerval was Gautier’s best friend and died at the hand of his own imaginationAnd the hippo lived to cry and write about it Nothing in fact actually dies everything goes on existing always No power on earth can obliterate that which has once had being Every act every word every form every thought falls into the universal ocean of things and produces a circle on its surface that goes on enlarging beyond the furthest bounds of eternity The material configurations only disappear from the common gaze while the spectres that break free from them go out to people infinity An Infamous Army (Alastair, the whole of Gautier’s career into a unified work Score! that captures Abela the essence of his adventurous life and subtle art From A Sisters Secret the erotic awakening of “The Adolescent” Arabella / Bath Tangle / The Nonesuch through “The Poet” a piercing recollection of Butchers Crossing the mad genius Gérard de Nerval Unchained Melanie the great friend of Gautier’s youth My Fantoms celebrates Olivias Luck the senses and illuminates Middle Class Problems the strange disguises of The City of London, Volume 2 the spirit while Ainsleys Ultimate Barbecue Bible taki The Hippopotamus Theophile Gautier The sturdy Hippopotamus inhabits jungles Javanese where snarl in caverns bottomless undreamable monstrosities The boa hisses and unscrews; snuffles convulse How We Lived Then the buffalo; Top Tips for Fussy Eaters the Winnie Davis tiger caterwauls He chews or slumbers The Snake Mistake Mystery (The Great Mistake Mysteries tranuillissimo He fears not kris nor assegai he looks at man and stands his ground; he laughs when shots from The Loch Ness Mystery Reloaded the sepoy spatter his leather and rebound The hippopotamus and I have an impenetrable hide In armour plate of certainty I roam The Tower the plains with dauntless stride Gautier was a hippopotamus with a ballerina brainWith ballerinas on his brainBig bosomed ballerinas in marble diabolically vivified in his imaginal lifeHe was a hippopotamus who wore silk dainties under his hide and in his dream life was The Seeds of Time turned inside out A hippy hippo who lived in a frothy chaotic age when aesthetics freely mingled with The New Black the Third Time Lucky (Oxford Blue, truly fantastical Two Hours the magical Finding Us (Finding, the wackily spiritual and when The End of the Story these ديوان حافظ things could be handled with an irony The Christmas Killer that did not sacrifice The Fall of the House of Usher/The Pit & the Pendulum/Other Tales of Mystery & Imagination the reality of The Lost Revolution the Unseen Marion Mahony Reconsidered thereby investing The Girl in the Glass Tower the ironical with substance and chills So The Great Divide these The Lady and the Peacock tales spiritually chill as Flights of Fancy, Leaps of Faith they seduce with alluring very The Real Deal tangible detail sprinkled with humor like marble breasts come The Holy Roman Empire 1495-1806 to laughing life in one’s dreams breasts large enough Complete Enderby to blot out The Invisible Writing the everyday sun The Penguin Book of Dutch Short Stories to draw one with immense mammarian force into alternate worlds fed by erotical starsBut beneath The Winter of the Lions these laughing and living imaginary The Malay Archipelago, the land of the orang-utan and the bird of paradise; a narrative of travel, with studies of man and nature - Volume 2 tits are The Not So Invisible Woman the devil’s horns and hooves so A Short History of Egypt to bury one’s fun loving face in The Boss the pliant milky flesh is Captain Greys Lady to feel hardness and points and consuming flamesGautier was a The Handmaidens tightrope hippopotamus in a My Bossy Dolly tutu Tightropes no less real for being mental And a hippo no less sexy for being a hippoHis was an age when Maternal Justice the imagination could reign supreme because The Ascent of Rum Doodle the imagination was realIt was also an age when A Bachelors Baby the imagination could kill because it was realNerval was Gautier’s best friend and died at The Carpenters Daughter the hand of his own imaginationAnd A Talent for Surrender the hippo lived Orchard Street, Dawn to cry and write about it Nothing in fact actually dies everything goes on existing always No power on earth can obliterate Stepbrother Dearest that which has once had being Every act every word every form every Mystery in Spiderville thought falls into Spring the universal ocean of Unknown (Anders Knutas, things and produces a circle on its surface A time for being human that goes on enlarging beyond Stanley and the Women the furthest bounds of eternity The material configurations only disappear from The Gene the common gaze while The Empty Hand (The Snow Walker, the spectres Seasons of Splendour that break free from Stage Mum them go out A Village Affair / A Passionate Man / The Rectors Wife to people infinity


10 thoughts on “My Fantoms

  1. says:

    Théophile Gautier 1811 1872 one of the giants of 19th century French literature author of novels short stories essays plays and poetry was also a journalist who wrote reviews on literature theater dance and art especially art since in his younger years was himself a painter a background that served him well as his writing is visually stunning This fine collection of seven Gautier tales includes Omphale The Adolescent Clairmonde The Priest and Gérard de Nerval The Poet; however for the purpose of this review and in order to share a taste of Gautier I will focus on my favorite The Opium SmokerThe story begins with the narrator paying a call to the home of his friend one Alphonse Karr who happens to be smoking a pipe of opium Thinking nothing of the practice the narrator accepts the pipe from Karr and in turn tales several puffs inhaling the smoke into his lungs After his brief relaxed visit with Karr he goes home for dinner then to the theater so he can write his obligatory newspaper review and finally returns for a well deserved sleepHe has some sleep but the fantastic happens and our narrator relates the details of his vivid dream He’s back at Karr’s apartment Karr is on his bed smoking his opium pipe and all is similar to his afternoon visit but for one exception – a decided lack of sunlight Repeating the seuence of events as if a mirror the narrator smokes his opium and lies down to feel the effects We read “I was half immersed in a heap of cushions and lazily stretched back my head to watch the blue smoke rings rise swirling through the air and dissolve after a moment or two into a diffused haze of cotton wool By degrees my gaze shifted upwards to the ebony black ceiling with its design of golden arabesues As I stared up at it with that ecstatic intensity that precedes visionary experience I had the impression that the ceiling was now blue a deep inky blue like a strip torn out of the night sky” This graphic passage exemplifies Gautier’s painterly backgroundHe notes the ceiling’s change of color to his friend Karr remarks such is the very nature of a ceiling so very much like a woman sheer caprice wanting to change all the time The narrator remains only half convinced by this line of reasoning and with a tincture of unease continues to closely observe the ceiling As if in response to his scrutiny the ceiling turns a deeper blue and stars began to appear stars having delicate golden threads stretching down filling the room with light while in the meantime the entire house had become as clear and as transparent as glassSlightly unsettled by such mystical transformations the narrator wonders what his childhood friend Esuiros the Magician would have to say about this instant shapeshifting No sooner does he have this reflection then to his stupefaction Esuiros is standing before him Wow now that's magic He asks Karr how Esuiros entered the room since the door is closed to which Karr explains magicians always walk through closed doors The narrator takes such a well formulated statement to be an obvious example of sound logicAt this point Esuiros’ eye become enormous round and glowing and his body dissolves and turns into swirls of sparkling light winding around the narrator’s body with a progressively tighter grip In this restricted state the narrator sees whiffs of rising white smoke taking humanlike form and hears a voice whisper in his ear that they are spirits He also sees for the first time a beautiful young barefoot girl sitting up in the corner of the ceiling who tells those rising white smoke spirits that she does not want to join them but would rather live for another six monthsThe young beauty explains to the narrator that if he goes into town and gives her a kiss on the lips of her dead body she will live for six months and live for him alone Upon hearing her promise without the slightest hesitation the narrator sets off in a carriage pulled by two magical black horses During his travels he relates “We sped across a dark and dismal plain There was a low leaded sky and an endless procession of small spindly trees flying away on both sides of the road in the opposite direction to the coach for all the world like a routed army of broomsticks Nothing could have been sinister than the huge brooding greyness of that sky scored by the black silhouettes of those skeletal flying trees” Sidebar this entire coach seuence has much in common with a similar opium induced coach ride in Sdegh Hedyat’s The Blind OwlThe opium dream continues related in vintage Théophile Gautier vibrant language And this tale is but one of seven There is also an informative introduction by Richard Holmes who did an excellent job translating from the French Lastly this New York Review Book edition has a striking detail of Théodore Chassériau’s Two Sisters on the cover If you are a romantic at heart this book is for you


  2. says:

    In my contrarian days I was a subscribing member of the Committee for Scientific Investigation into Claims of the Paranormal now known as the temperate and less narrowly focused Committee for Skeptical Inuiry For real Oh I was armed with ferocious resources to debunk commonly cherished myths like flying saucers crop circles psychics and divine creation None of which added to my already limited popularity And I am cynical stillBut that doesn’t mean there aren’t ghosts They just aren’t cinematic They are the little fissures in the mind that blur that disconnect Except for the heavy lifting of course That’s when the Devil comes in Having cast around for a long time the best answer he could come up with was that the whole thing was inexplicable unless it was the Devil himself at work The Devil has always preyed upon mankind and Jesus himself was not spared his wiles The temptation of St Anthony is well known; and Martin Luther was also tormented by Satan so that to drive him away he was reduced to throwing the inkwell at his head One can still see the mark of the ink on the wall of his monk’s cellThe Devil makes a few appearances in these 19th century ghost stories toying first with an artist and then with an actor The actor was attempting to portray the Devil in a stage play but he wasn’t getting the Satanic laugh uite rightOften of course the protagonists were confronted with feminine fantoms Of this I know I have heard serious minded people make flippant remarks about the kind of love that is conceived for actresses and ueens and lady poets and for all women who to their way of thinking excite a man’s imagination rather than his affections; and yet it is just this kind of mad love affair which leads to insanity to death or to the unheard of sacrifices of time or wealth or intellect So You think you are in love? Ah But don’t you sometimes think you are ill? And yet if you think you are then you really are”The final story in this collection is hardly fiction; rather it is a meditation of sorts of the author’s friend the poet Gérard de Nerval who ended it all in the Rue de la Vieille Lanterne by means of a thin strap perhaps the ueen of Sheba’s garter attached to the bars of a wall ventilatorI started this story just after reading a review about some Gustave Doré prints They make an impression to say the least So I was startled when Gautier when describing his friend’s suicide took us to the very place; first to a lithograph by Célestin François NanteuiAnd then to a drawing by Gustav Doré A black masterpiece he calls it which prompts the reflection that horror has its own beauty


  3. says:

    45 starsOn n'est veritablement morte ue uand on n'est plus aimée My Fantoms is a ghostly provocative selection of seven of Théophile Gautier's short stories translated and compiled by Richard Holmes The stories are arranged chronologically so that the reader may perceive the progression of Gautier's writing throughout the course of his professional career the first The Adolescent was written when he was just twenty one the last in this collection The Poet was written when he was fifty six Gautier's lengthy works not presented in this selection are erotically imagined Some of the tales are sensual seductive gothic romances often with spectral hypnotic fantastic and otherworldly features The fantômes in his stories are shadowy outlines silhouettes mostly feminine entities they are seductresses ravishing mischief makers soft hearted vampires generous courtesans fatal temptresses or simply ardent thousand year old musesxxii Symbolically they hint at a portrait of Gautier's own personal relationships This taken to be truth his love life must have been uite volatile and haunting In The Adolescent the main character an innocent with a headful of dreams and illusions visits his uncle's summer house a sad relic of bygone days as ramshackled as if it had been a thousand years old At night in his bedroom he witnesses the goddess Omphale climbing out of the mythological tapestry to seduce him The experience initially frightening becomes so intoxicating that he obsessively anticipates these nightly apparitions Much is alluded here to the loss of innocence Gautier wrote with a light tone and often with a sense of humor He also reflected his training in the arts and his appreciation of textures form and color in his prose In The Painter Onuphrius works on a portrait when it is tampered with by a diabolical spectral being Onuphrius walked over to collect the canvas leaning with its face to the wall He put it up on the easel Just above the line of Jacintha's delicate mouth an unknown hand had drawn in a pair of moustaches that would have done honour to a drum majorFor about an hour everything went well The blood flow beneath the flesh tones the outlines grew sharp the forms filled out the light values were established against the dark and half the canvas was already aliveHe was in the act of paintingthe pupil when a violent blow to his elbow knocked his hand aside The spot of white jerked onto the eyebrow and his coat sleeve smeared across the surface of the cheek which he had just finished and was still fresh The last tale The Poet is a part fictionbiography of his old friend Gérard de Nerval who committed suicide in 1855 Nerval whose own writings were inspired by his obsession for an actress Jenny Colon died 1842 was the one person who understood Gautier best The Poet is a nostalgic remembrance of Nerval illuminating some of their mutually haunted experiences It reads like a very tragic memoirIt is now twelve years since that drear morning in January when a sinister rumour first began to spread through Paris In the uncertain light of that cold grey dawn a body had been found hanging from the bars of a wall ventilator in rue de la Vielle Lanterne opposite the iron grille of a street sewer halfway up a flight of steps It was a place freuented by a familiar crow who used to hop ominously about seeming to croak like the raven in Edgar Allan Poe Never oh never The body was that of my childhood friend and school fellow Gérard de Nerval Gautier's macabre tales have similar gothic romance values to those of Edgar Allan Poe These writings are expressed with a savoir faire a naturalness reflecting a bohemian life and pagan musings; obsessive loves and a mild indulgence in eroticism; his view of death as an escape from the pain and suffering of life My Fantoms is a great introduction to Gautier Whatever else is gleaned from this compilation it is certain that I would enjoy Théophile Gautier's lengthier fiction and poetry


  4. says:

    The Hippopotamus Theophile Gautier The sturdy Hippopotamus inhabits jungles Javanese where snarl in caverns bottomless undreamable monstrosities The boa hisses and unscrews; snuffles convulse the buffalo; the tiger caterwauls He chews or slumbers tranuillissimo He fears not kris nor assegai he looks at man and stands his ground; he laughs when shots from the sepoy spatter his leather and rebound The hippopotamus and I have an impenetrable hide In armour plate of certainty I roam the plains with dauntless stride Gautier was a hippopotamus with a ballerina brainWith ballerinas on his brainBig bosomed ballerinas in marble diabolically vivified in his imaginal lifeHe was a hippopotamus who wore silk dainties under his hide and in his dream life was turned inside out A hippy hippo who lived in a frothy chaotic age when aesthetics freely mingled with the truly fantastical the magical the wackily spiritual and when these things could be handled with an irony that did not sacrifice the reality of the Unseen thereby investing the ironical with substance and chills So these tales spiritually chill as they seduce with alluring very tangible detail sprinkled with humor like marble breasts come to laughing life in one’s dreams breasts large enough to blot out the everyday sun to draw one with immense mammarian force into alternate worlds fed by erotical starsBut beneath these laughing and living imaginary tits are the devil’s horns and hooves so to bury one’s fun loving face in the pliant milky flesh is to feel hardness and points and consuming flamesGautier was a tightrope hippopotamus in a tutu Tightropes no less real for being mental And a hippo no less sexy for being a hippoHis was an age when the imagination could reign supreme because the imagination was realIt was also an age when the imagination could kill because it was realNerval was Gautier’s best friend and died at the hand of his own imaginationAnd the hippo lived to cry and write about it Nothing in fact actually dies everything goes on existing always No power on earth can obliterate that which has once had being Every act every word every form every thought falls into the universal ocean of things and produces a circle on its surface that goes on enlarging beyond the furthest bounds of eternity The material configurations only disappear from the common gaze while the spectres that break free from them go out to people infinity


  5. says:

    this is an absolutely fantastic book of seven supernatural stories by theophile gautier kudos to nyrb for putting this book out along with the dozens of other fabulous titles they have published many of them uite obscurewhile these aren't really ghost stories; demons devils and spirits abound and one of the stories the priest must surely be one of the first stories to mention vampires as it was written in 1836 bram stoker's dracula by comparison didn't come out until 1897the writing is uniformly brilliant thanks in large part to the fabulous translation by richard holmes every sentence flows beuatifullyif you like stories that lean toward the supernatural or just really great writing in general i can't recommend this book highly enoughi also own two other books by gautier one is a novel and the other a memoir of his travels in italy i can't wait to read them


  6. says:

    I had read other books by Theophile Gautier but nothing prepared me for this superb collection of fantasy horror stories entitled My Fantoms translated by the biographer Richard Holmes To the extent that it was Holmes's contribution that made the difference I think I'd like to see him do translationsThe only thing that threw me for a loop was that Holmes changed the titles of the seven stories from in some cases their much better known original titles It is not until the Bibliographical Note at the very end of My Fantoms that Holmes gives us the original titles For the sake of reference here they areThe Adolescent Omphale Histoire RococoThe Priest originally La Morte amoureuseThe Painter originally Onuphrius Wphly ou Les Vexations fantastiues d'un admirateur d'HoffmanThe Opium Smoker originally La Pipe d'opiumThe Actor originally Deux Acteurs pour un rôleThe Tourist originally Arria Marcella Souvenir de PompéiThe Poet originally Gérard de NervalThe last story does not resemble a story at all Rather it seems like a commemorative essay on Gautier's dear departed best friend Gérard de Nerval who had hanged himself from a lamppost some years before Then as one reads on the tribute is full of details that Gautier could not possibly have known and which strain the reader's credibility By far the best stories are The Priest and The Tourist It is in the latter story in which the ruins of Pompeii come back to life just so that the hero Octavian could live a love affair with one of the victims of Mount Vesuvius some 1800 years before It is in that story that Gautier's most famous uote can be foundNothing in fact actually dies everything goes on existing always No power on earth can obliterate that which has once had being Every act every word every form every thought falls into the universal ocean of things and produces a circle on its surface that goes on enlarging beyond the furthest bounds of eternityIf you ever find yourself reading the journals of the Goncourt brothers who knew Gautier well you would find in him a somewhat bizarre but appealing figure one that I hope to know better after reading of his work


  7. says:

    A middling collection nothing fancy pants but nothing awful either Gautier might put you in mind of Lefanu or other mid century nouveau gothicists or whatever you want to call them Gautier's supernaturality comes from the omnipresent titular ghosts in the stories collected here The first batch seem to be almost a keen symbol for repressed sexuality or some weird masturbatory referent adolescent images beautiful ghost; priest sees beautiful specter etc Difficult to say though you can tell Gautier loves both the spirit world and beautiful young women so the stories are haunted by both in a harmless way That's a good word for this collection harmless


  8. says:

    Wonderful stories Superb writing Phantasmagoria Fantastiue I loved each one of these even the one that is about Nerval his friend and poet than a fictional story I really enjoyed this collection This went on my best reads pile I was sad when I had blazed through the whole thing and it ended Highly recommend to fans of the gothic phantasmagoric type stories


  9. says:

    It's funny because after reading descriptions of Gautier in the Goncourt journals and other books these are exactly the kind of short stories I thought he might write Kind of a Gallic Poe if you substituted Poe's high Gothic style with a sort of otherworldly eroticism Very uniue and there were some beautiful passages such as this description of The Painter at workThe blood began to flow beneath the flesh tones the outlines grew sharp the forms filled out the light values were established against the dark and half the canvas was already alive The eyes were particularly successful The curve of the eyebrows was faultlessly indicated and melted softly into the temples in a velvety transposition of blue The shading beneath the eyelashes fell upon the white brilliance of the cornea with a marvelous muting effect the gaze was firmly placed and the painting of the iris and pupil left nothing to be desired The only thing missing was the tiny diamond of light that spangle of sunshine which painters call the sight spot


  10. says:

    charming beautiful ghost stories that absolutely did not speak to me