[jahsonic.com] - [Next >>]

Jules Barbey d'Aurevilly (1808 - 1889)

Lifespan: 1808 - 1889

Related: dandyism - symbolist literature - le fantastique - decadent movement - French literature

Titles: Les Diaboliques (The She-Devils) (1874)

Two works of Barbey d'Aurevilly specially attracted Des Esseintes, the Prêtre marié and the Diaboliques. Others, such as the Ensorcelé, the Chevalier des touches and Une Vieille Maîtresse, were certainly more comprehensive and more finely balanced, but they left Des Esseintes untouched, for he was really interested only in unhealthy works which were consumed and irritated by fever. In these all but healthy volumes, Barbey d'Aurevilly constantly hesitated between those two pits which the Catholic religion succeeds in reconciling: mysticism and sadism. --Huysmans quoted in Against the Grain


Jules Amédée Barbey d'Aurevilly (November 2, 1808 - April 23, 1889), was a French novelist. He specialised in a kind of mysterious tale that examines hidden motivation and hinted evil bordering (but never crossing into) the supernatural. He had a decisive influence on writers such as Auguste Villiers de l'Isle-Adam, Henry James and Proust.

He was born at Saint-Sauveur-le-Vicomte (Manche). In the 1850s, d'Aurevilly became literary critic of the Pays. Paul Bourget describes him as a dreamer with an exquisite sense of vision, who sought and found in his work a refuge from the uncongenial world of every day. Jules Lemaitre, a less sympathetic critic, finds in the extraordinary crimes of his heroes and heroines, his reactionary views, his dandyism and snobbery, an exaggerated Byronism.

Jules Amédée Barbey d'Aurevilly died in Paris and was interred in the Cimetière du Montparnasse. In 1926 his remains were transferred to St. Sauveur, le vicomte's cemetery, in Normandy.


  • Une Vieille Maîtresse (An Old Mistress) (1851), attacked at the time of its publication on the charge of immorality
  • 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 acts of violence, crime, or revenge.

    Barbey d'Aurevilly is an extreme example of the eccentricities of which the Romanticists were capable, and to read him is to understand the discredit that fell upon the manner. He held extreme Catholic views and wrote on the most risqué subjects; he gave himself aristocratic airs and hinted at a mysterious past, though his parentage was entirely bourgeois and his youth very hum-drum and innocent.

    Barbey d'Aurevilly also wrote the essay On Dandyism and Beau Brummell. [1]

    Meanwhile, at Amazon

    your Amazon recommendations - Jahsonic - early adopter products

    Managed Hosting by NG Communications