This is yet another title where the size of the book,its binding , age and rarity, made flat scanning impossible, so the images below are photographic, I am aware that they are not perfectly square or flat, but they are the best I can that I can do with available resources. In any case I think they look pretty good.
A slight departure, In that this book is not strictly speaking, “erotica”, It is however a clandestine publication, The Lutetian Bibliophiles Society actually being our old pal Charles Carrington.
This is the first English translation (by some considerable number of years), of Barbey d’Aurevilly’s masterpiece of decadent literature, “Les Diaboliques” a sort of mixture of crime, horror and the supernatural, more closely related to the Gothic novels of the late 1700’s than the erotica of the Fin de Siecle 1890’s. Originally published as individual short stories, the collection was published as Les Diaboliques, in October 1874. In December 1874, the book was seized and prosecuted as an offence to public morality, In 1875 the charges were dismissed. As is often the case, the scandal made the book more popular, despite this, it was not reprinted until 1882 in an edition revised by Barbey and considered the definitive French language edition; this anonymous translation published clandestinely by Carrington in 1900 is based on the 1882 edition. The entire books is dedicated to strange stories of dangerous women, the French title Les Diaboliques, literally translates to “devilish”, but is generally accepted as “The She Devils”, not to be confused with the 1958 Ophelia Press title of that name which is an English translation of Piere Louys’ “Trois Filles et leur Mere”
A fascinating character in his own right, Barbey was a great friend of Baudelaire and had attempted to assist him in the 1850’s when “Le Fleurs du Mal” was prosecuted. In his later years he was feted by writers such as Leon Bloy and J.K Huysmans.He died on April 23 rd 1899.
For an updated translation with a useful introduction see :-
WEIRD WOMEN ;The Crimson Curtain; Happiness in Crime; A Dinner of Atheists; A Woman’s Vengence, TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH of Barbey d’Aurevilly WITH EIGHT WOOD ENGRAVINGS. LONDON. PRIVATELY PRINTED. LUTETIAN BIBLIOPHILES’ SOCIETY MCM. (1900).12mo. (16 x 19.5 x 6 c.m) xv + 490pp. Two volumes in one. Limited edition of 500 copies on Van Gelder. 13 wood-engraved plates. Frontispiece by Lambrecht + [8 by Emile Mas and 4 by Ren = René Lelong], all engraved by Eugene Dété. Foreword by Charles Carrington. Two stories in the book not listed on the title page: Don Juan’s Proudest Triumph and What Lay beneath the Cards. (Library of Congress: PQ2189.B32 D57.)
Note, The title page indicates eight wood engravings, The content actually delivers; Frontispiece and 2 engravings for each of the six short stories.