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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Escal-Vigor (1899) is a homoerotic novel by Belgian writer Georges Eekhoud. It was a new and daring novel. Escal-Vigor was the name of the castle of its protagonist, count Henry de Kehlmark, but it conveys the name 'Escaut', French for the river Scheldt, and 'Vigor', Latin for Power. Many of these readers were shocked, because the book is concerned with love between men. According to Eekhoud's biographer Mirande Lucien, Escal-Vigor was the book of a man who wanted to speak about himself in all freedom. Escal-Vigor is a homogeneous, linear text. The story goes without detours to its final scene of the martyrdom, the moment that the tortured bodies testify of the justness of their cause. As for its composition, Escal-Vigor is the least decadent of Eekhoud's works. Eekhoud makes much less use of the elaborate and old-fashioned words that make the reader stop and wonder.

A clear and resolute novel about homosexuality, Escal-Vigor was heading towards trouble. Although it was well received by most critics, like Rachilde and Eugène Demolder, a lawsuit was launched against it. However, a storm of protest, especially vociferous because of numerous literary celebrities, and a cunning lawyer with literary aspirations, Edmond Picard, did their part in acquitting Eekhoud.

The Panurge Press discovered his 1899 novel, Escal-Vigor, and published it in 1930 as A Strange Love: A Novel of Abnormal Passion.

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