- Jules Amédée Barbey d'Aurevilly
Jules-Amédée Barbey d'Aurevilly (
November 2, 1808– April 23, 1889), was a French novelistand short storywriter. He specialised in mystery tales that explored hidden motivation and hinted at evil without ever crossing the line into the supernatural. He had a decisive influence on writers such as Auguste Villiers de l'Isle-Adam, Henry Jamesand Proust.
Barbey d'Aurevilly was born at
Saint-Sauveur-le-Vicomte( Manche) in Normandy. His greatest successes as a literary writer date from 1852 onwards, when he became an influential literary critic at the bonapartist paper "Le Pays", helping to rehabilitate Balzacand effectually promoting Stendhal, Flaubert, and Baudelaire. Paul Bourget describes Barbey as a dreamer with an exquisite sense of vision, who sought and found in his work a refuge from the uncongenial every day world. Jules Lemaître, a less sympathetic critic, thought the extraordinary crimes of his heroes and heroines, his reactionary views, his dandyismand snobbery were a caricature of Byronism.
Fin-de-siècledecadents, Barbey d'Aurevilly remains an example of the extremes of late romanticism, suggesting how this genre could fall into discredit among later Victorians. Barbey d'Aurevilly held extreme Catholicviews, yet wrote on the most risqué subjects, a contradiction apparently more disturbing to the English than to the French themselves. Barbey d'Aurevilly was also known as a dandyartisan of his own persona, adopting an aristocratic aura and hinting at a mysterious past, though his parentage was provincial bourgeois nobility, and his youth comparatively uneventful.
Inspired by the character and ambience of
Valognes, he set his works against the social backdrop of Normand aristocracy. Although he himself did not use the Norman patois, his example encouraged the revival of vernacular literaturein his home region.
Jules-Amédée Barbey d'Aurevilly died in
Parisand was buried in the cimetière de Montparnasse. In 1926 his remains were transferred to the churchyard in Saint-Sauveur-le-Vicomte.
*"Une vieille maîtresse" ("An Elderly Mistress", 1851), attacked at the time of its publication on the charge of "immorality"; it was adapted to cinéma by the controversial director
Catherine Breillat: its English title is The Last Mistress.
*"L'Ensorcelée" ("The Bewitched", 1854), an episode of the royalist rising among the Norman peasants against the first republic.
*"Chevalier Destouches" (1864)
Les Diaboliques" ("The She-Devils", 1874), a collection of short stories, each of which relates a tale of a woman who commits an act of violence, a crime, or revenge.
* "Le Cachet d’Onyx, 1831
* "Léa, 1832
* "L’Amour impossible, 1841
* "La Bague d’Annibal, 1842
* "Un Prêtre marié, 1864
* "Une Histoire sans nom, 1882
* "Ce qui ne meurt pas, 1883
* "Du Dandysme et de Georges Brummel, 1845
* "Les Prophètes du passé, 1851
* "Les Oeuvres et les hommes 1860-1909
* "Les quarante médaillons de l'Académie, 1864
* "Les ridicules du temps, 1883
* "Pensées détachées, Fragments sur les femmes, 1889
* "Polémiques d'hier, 1889
* "Dernières Polémiques, 1891
* "Goethe et Diderot, 1913
His complete works are published in two volumes of the "
Bibliothèque de la Pléiade".
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