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Gilles de Rais (1404 - 1440)

Related: France - 1400s - serial murder

Biographer: Georges Bataille

Gilles de Rais's castle at Machecoul, 40 km from Nantes.


Gilles de Rais (also spelled Raiz, Retz) (autumn of 1404 - October 26, 1440) was a French aristocrat, soldier, and at one time, a national hero. He was later convicted of serial murder.

Gilles de Rais is believed to have somehow given rise to the legend of Bluebeard, although the legend bears little resemblance to the reality. Gilles de Rais appears by name as a character in the play Saint Joan by George Bernard Shaw, as a young man of 25 who is set up to impersonate the Dauphin, which attempt is unsuccessful. The profile and notoriety of Gilles inspired many modern French thinkers and authors, such as Michel Tournier and Pierre Klossowski. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilles_de_Rais [Jan 2005]


Machecoul est une commune française, située dans le département de la Loire-Atlantique et la région Pays de la Loire. --http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machecoul [Jan 2005]

Trial of Gilles De Rais - George Bataille

  • Trial of Gilles De Rais - George Bataille [Amazon.com]
    Georges Bataille's work varies wildly in quantity. His early essays, collected in "Visions of Excess", are interesting but by now rather amusing blood-and-thunder manifestoes, swirling with Nietzschean rhetoric, the kind of thing that makes certain young male academics feel the blood rising in their nads so that they'll write anguished tomes on postmodernism that no-one but their students will ever read. His slightly later "Literature and Evil" is one of the silliest and shallowest books of litcrit ever inflicted on an undeserving public. His novel "Story of the Eye" is insubstantial as literature and uninvolving as pornography. This late work consists of a sober essay on the French nobleman Gilles de Rais and the documents from Gilles' trial in 1440. I think it's the best book Bataille ever wrote. [...] lexo-2 for amazon.com

    La Bas (Down There) (1891) - Joris Karl Huysmans

    La Bas (Down There) (1891) - Joris Karl Huysmans [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    Product Description:
    At the novel’s center is Durtal, a writer obsessed with the life of one of the blackest figures in history, Gilles de Rais-child murderer, sadist, necrophile and practitioner of all the black arts. The book’s authentic, extraordinarily detailed descriptions of the Black Mass have never been surpassed.

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