Misanthropic Tales, first published in 1831, is the first collection
of stories in a genre that was given numerous other titlesall equally
inappropriateby various practitioners before and after the one that
eventually caught on to a greater extent than its rivals: Contes cruels.
These are stories that set out to oppose the conventions of fiction that
encourage embellishments of various sorts, including and especially the
contrivance of happy endings, deliberately violating the ordinary
readers hope and expectation that a story will end well.
In this, S. Henry Berthouds seminal volume, translated into
English for the first time by Brian Stableford, we are offered thirty-four
such tales of disenchantment, not so much stories as anti-stories to be
enjoyed, in a connoisseur fashion, by discriminating readers possessed
of refined taste, who are aware of the essential hypocrisy of the fictional
conventions the tales defy and deny.
Published by Snuggly Books in February 2018