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The Song of the Skylark

by Antoine-Louis Duclaux, Comte de l’Estoille, writing as “A. de l'Estoille”
adapted by Brian Stableford

Short Stories

The Song of the Skylark (1880) is quite uncategorizable, defying classification as a novel, yet its complexity stretching the notion of a book-length “poem in prose”. It is unique in the annals of French literature, although it has certain affinities with Edgar Quinet’s Merlin the Enchanter (1860), which similarly attempts to fuse a transfiguration of the author’s own life-story with a fakeloristic pseudohistory of France. centered on the historical fantasy Vercingétorix in which the author attempts to reconfigure episodes reported in Julius Caesar’s Commentarii de Bellio Gallico into a pseudohistory and imaginary prehistory of Gaul, one that includes an idiosyncratic theory of serial reincarnation.

However puzzling L’Estoille’s work might be in its strangeness and unorthodoxy, however, it is certainly not lacking in sanity, and its pathos is highly effective. It is a pity that it was so neglected at its time of publication, and it is fully deserving of the modern reappraisal that its reappearance in the twenty-first century permits.

Cover by Michel Borderie

Published by Black Coat Press in November 2020
ISBN: 978-1-64932-017-9

The Brian Stableford Website