Monday 31 October 2011

Cazotte's The Devil in Love

Halloween seems like a good time to do a post on Jacques Cazotte's Le diable amoureux, Nouvelle Espagnole (Naples, 1772), which I am considering including in my Dark Hero unit next time it runs. There have been a few recent editions, one of which has just been reissued, so there should be no difficulty getting the text.

There were four separate translations of this work into English during the high Romantic period. These are:

[1] Alvarez, Or, Irresistible Seduction; A Spanish Tale (London: W. Richardson, 1791). ¶ ESTC: t226198 (recording 2 copies); on ECCO; “When I was five-and-twenty years old, I was a captain in the the King of Naples’ guards: we lived very sociably among ourselves …”

[2] The Devil in Love, Translated from the French (London: Hookham and Carpenter, 1793). ¶ ESTC: t71529 (4 copies); on ECCO; “At five and twenty I was a Captain of the Guards in the service of the King of Naples, and lived in gay society …”

[3] The Enamoured Spirit (London: Lee and Hurst, Bell, Millar and J. Wright, 1798). ¶ ESTC: t210676 (2 copies); not on ECCO; “At the age of five-and-twenty I was Captain in the Guards of His Majesty the King of Naples, and kept constant company with my brother officers”

[4] Biondetta, or the Enamoured Spirit (London: J. Miller, 1810). ¶ COPAC and WorldCat record 8 copies: L [1458.d.16] and O [Fic. 27524 e.164]; CaSRU [PQ 1961 C5 A6413 1810]; CtY [Hfd29 151N], DLC [PZ3.C3197 B FT MEADE], MH-H [*EC8 L5875 Y810c], PSt [PQ1961.C5A65 1810], ViU [PZ2.C39 B 1810]; “At the age of five and twenty I was a captain in the guards of the King of Naples.”

As you can see, most of these editions are quite rare.

In addition to these four translations between 1791 and 1810, there have been three modern editions, two of which are new translations:

[5] The Devil in Love (London: Heinemann; Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1925). Limited edition (UK: 75 copies; US: 365 copies) ¶ Reprints translation no. 2; available online on Europeana, courtesy of the Bodleian Library (direct link to PDF here)

[6] The Devil in Love, translated by Judith Landry (Dedalus, 1991; 2nd ed. 2011). ¶ “At the age of twenty-five I was a captain of the king's Guards at Naples; we kept our own company much of the time …”

[7] The Devil in Love. Followed by Jacques Cazotte: His Life, Trial, Prophecies, and Revelations by Gerard de Nerval, translated by Stephen Sartarelli (Marsilio, 1993). ¶ “At the age of twenty-five I was a Captain of the Guards in the service of the King of Naples. We lived much of our time …”

Unlike the English, the French have been producing beautifully-illustrated editions of Le diable amoureux since the start (the first edition is illustrated). I will have to get myself a copy of the poetic adaptation by "Gerard de Nerval" [Gérard Labrunie]:

Le diable amoureux, roman fantastique par J. Cazotte, Précédé de sa vie, de son procès, et de ses prophéties et révélations par Gerard de Nerval. Illustré de 200 dessins par Edouard de Beaumont (Paris, Léon Canivet, 1845).

The Beaumont illustrations were reprinted in 1871 by H. Plon and copies of that reprint are fairly common. But there are some stunning private-press editions from the twentieth century that I would like to get too, with illustrations by Paul-Émile Bécat (1936), Maurice Leroy (1946), André Michel (1950), Michel Jamar (1960), Jean Traynier (1966) and—undoubtedly—others.

According to Joseph Andriano, the most reliable edition of the French text is in Romanciers du XVIIIe siecle, edited by Etiemble et Marguerite du Cheyron, vol. 2 (Paris: Gallimard, Pleiade, 1965), 303–78. However, there are two other modern editions of the French text: those edited by Max Milner (Paris: Garnier-Flammarion, 1979) and Georges Décote (Paris: Gallimard, 1981).

* * * * *

As for why I would consider this novel for the Dark Hero unit … well, I was persuaded to do so by the chapter in Andriano's Our Ladies of Darkness: Feminine Daemonology in Male Gothic Fiction (1993), 10, which mounts a strong argument for The Devil in Love as the first conte fantastique: the first fantasy.

Nothing quite like Cazotte's work had appeared before, even though its temptation plot, with its prototype in the life of St. Anthony, was familiar to all Catholics. The text seems a curious hybrid of several popular genres of the time—contes licencieux, contes morales, contes defees—but it has long had the reputation of being the first of a new genre—le conte fantastique, not only in Todorov's narrow sense of reader hesitation but in a broader one: Cazotte simply added the mimetic techniques of realism, already apparent in some fabliaux and contes, to the marvelous. The result was an exquisitely ambiguous work in which a fairly ordinary young man is confronted with both the supernatural and the perfectly natural "realistic" problem of choosing a mate. Le Diable amoureux may also be considered Gothic in that term's broadest sense. It has the trappings—ruins, diabolism, sexual pursuit—and it gives a little frisson.
  With elements of all these genres Le Diable amoureux had something to please almost everyone: humor, light titillation, periodic chills, and moral messages. Only a thoroughly ambiguous work could provide such conflicting needs.

 UPDATE 13 December 2012: while searching through the New York Society Library's Hammond Collection I stumbled upon a New York edition of The Devil in Love from 1810. A search on WorldCat shows that I also missed Boston editions of 1828 and 1830. These three editions should have appeared above as nos.5–7, pushing the total number of editions to nine.

Although some of these American editions are available in microformat—the 1810 edition is on microopaque—I have not been able to look at any of them yet. Once I have, I will update the above list identifying the translations used in America. (Given the choice of title for the 1810 edition, it seems most likely that they are all reprints of no.2—the 1793 edition.)

[UPDATE 10 December 2014: added ESTC numbers, availability on ECCO, etext of no. 5, and call numbers of no. 4.]

[UPDATE: 2 July 2016: After all my pictures disappeared again I decided to give up on external hosts for large versions (1000px) of my image files and, for now on, will stick with the smaller images (500px), which Blogger is prepared to host.]

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