Imaginary Lives  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Revision as of 11:26, 9 March 2014; view current revision
←Older revision | Newer revision→
Jump to: navigation, search

Related e

Wiki Commons

Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Vies imaginaires ("Imaginary Lives", 1896) is a series of fictional biographies written by French author Marcel Schwob.

From the publisher:

Imaginary Lives contains twenty-two mythopoeic literary portraits of figures from ancient history, art history, and the history of crime and punishment. From demi-gods, sorcerers, incendiaries, wantons and philosophers of the ancient world, to the "poet of hate" Cecco Angiolieri and the painter Paolo Uccello, through to the pirates William Kidd and Major Stede-Bonnet, and finally Burke and Hare, the serial killers; Schwob presents a vivid array of characters who display all that is macabre, deviant and magnificently terrifying in human beings and in life. In Imaginary Lives, Schwob has created a "secret" masterpiece that joins other biographical glossaries such as Jorge Luis Borges' A Universal History Of Infamy and Alfonso Reyes' Real And Imagined Portraits in the pantheon of classic speculative fiction, of which Schwob's book is the dark progenitor. Livid with decadent imagery, Imaginary Lives resonates loudly today with its themes of temporality, myth, violence and sexuality, and stands as a major work of the fin-de-siecle.


Wikipedia page[1]

Imaginary Lives (original French title: Vies imaginaires ), is a collection of twenty-two semi-biographical short stories by Marcel Schwob, first published as a book in 1896. Mixing known and fantastical elements, it was the first of the genre of Biographical Fiction. The book was an acknowledged influence in Jorge Luis Borges’s first book A Universal History of Infamy. Borges also translated the last story Burke and Hare, Assassins into Spanish.

Most had been published individually in the newspaper Le Journal between 1894 and 1985. For the collected edition he substituted “Vie de Morphiel, démiurge” with ‘’Matoaka’’ which had appeared in 1893 in ‘’L’Echo de Paris’ and that he renamed Pocahontas, princesse.


Original French title English translation (2013) Central characters
Empédocle, Dieu supposé Empedocles, Supposed God Empedocles
Erostrate, Incendiaire Erostate, Incendiary Herostratus
Cratès, Cynique Crates, Cynic Crates of Thebes
Septima, Incantatrice Septima, Enchantress
Lucrèce, Poète Lucretius, Poet Lucretius
Clodia, Matronne impudique Clodia, Impure Woman Clodia
Pétrone, Romancier Petronius, Romancier Petronius
Sufrah, Géomancien Sufrah, Geomancer Sorcerer from Aladdin
Frate Dolcino, Hérétique Fra Dolcino, Heretic Fra Dolcino
Cecco Angiolieri, Poète haineux Cecco Angiolieri, Poet of Hate Cecco Angiolieri
Paolo Uccello, Peintre Paolo Uccello, Painter Paolo Uccello
Nicolas Loyseleur, Juge Nicolas Loysenleur, Judge Judge of Joan of Arc
Katherine la Dentellière, Fille amoureuse Katherine the Lacemaker, Girl of the Streets
Alain le Gentil, Soldat Alain the Gentle, Soldier
Gabriel Spenser, Acteur Gabriel Spencer, Actor Gabriel Spencer
Pocahontas, Princesse Pocahontas, Princess Pocahontas
Cyril Tourneur, Poète tragique Cyril Tourneur, Tragic Poet Cyril Tourneur
William Phips, Pêcheur de trésors William Phips, Treasure Hunter William Phips
Le Capitaine Kid, Pirate Captain Kidd, Pirate William Kidd
Walter Kennedy, Pirate illettré Walter Kennedy, Unlettered Pirate Walter Kennedy (pirate)
Le Major Stede Bonnet, Pirate par humeur Major Stede-Bonnet, Pirate by Fancy Stede Bonnet
MM. Burke et Hare, Assassins Burke and Hare, Assassins Burke and Hare murders

See also

Full text[2]

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Imaginary Lives" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools