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by Catulle Mendès
translated by Brian Stableford

Short Stories

Bluebirds by Catulle Mendès (1841-1909), here delightfully translated for the first time into English by Brian Stableford, is fascinating, not only because it illustrates a particular evolution within the pattern of the author’s own works, but because that pattern reflects a more general one associated with the evolution from the French Romanticism of the first half of the nineteenth century to the Decadent and Symbolist Movements of the fin-de-siècle.

Mendès was one of the key figures in the latter phases of that process of development, launching his literary career in the 1860s under the patronage of Théophile Gautier, whose daughter Judith he married—much against her father’s wishes—in 1866, and then becoming a leading figure among the “Parnassians” who attempted a renewal and revivification of Romantic ideals, before he entered wholeheartedly into the Decadent Movement launched in the 1880s.

The stories in the present collection extend over a linear spectrum, moving by degrees from the affected sentimentality of Romanticism to a darker and somewhat jaundiced world-view that illustrates the Decadent sensibility very well, although all the stories were written in advance of the enormous fashionability that the sensibility in question achieved in the late 1880s.

Published by Snuggly Books in March 2017
ISBN: 978-1943813254

The Brian Stableford Website