Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Gourmont, Rémy de

(1858-1915) French writer, a major figure of Decadence and a leading literary critic of his day; writing became his only real channel of communication when he was forced to become a virtual recluse following facial disfigurement by discoid lupus erythrematosus. Several fantasies are included in his early Histoires magiques (coll 1894; trans Francis Amery as "Studies in Fascination" in The Angels of Perversity coll 1992 UK), which begins with the extraordinarily vivid erotic fantasy "Péhor". Proses moroses (coll 1894), Le pélerin du silence (coll 1896) and D'un pays lointain: miracles; visages de femmes; anecdotes (coll 1898) likewise contain some fantasy items, the last – written in the shadow of his illness – including his darkest and most powerful exercises in that vein. His longer fantasies are the dramatic exercise in Literary Satanism Lilith (1892; trans John Heard as Lilith: A Play 1946 chap US), the last of his novels – partly rendered in dramatic form – Une nuit au Luxembourg (1906; trans Arthur Ransome as A Night in the Luxembourg 1912 UK), and the whimsical Lettres d'un Satyr (1913; trans John Howard [Jacob Howard Lewis] as Mr Antiphilos, Satyr 1922 US). All this work develops theories of sexuality minutely explored in RDG's realistic novels and laid out in a quaintly rhapsodic nonfictional form in Physique de l'amour: Essai sur l'instinct sexuel (1903; trans Ezra Pound [1885-1972] as The Natural Philosophy of Love 1922 US). [BS]

Rémy de Gourmont


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.