06 November 2010

Short stories 271-280


I have fallen a bit behind posting these lists, but here is one and I will post the next soon. I have been keeping to the challenge more or less steadily, except I have been concentrating on spooky stories and horror tales in the latter part of October. You will see some of them on the next list.

"Fear" by Guy de Maupassant. Web. About what it is to be truly afraid. Here is a quotation from the story that I think captures the feeling very well:

“Fear — and the boldest men may feel fear — is something horrible, an atrocious sensation, a sort of decomposition of the soul, a terrible spasm of brain and heart, the very memory of which brings a shudder of anguish, but when one is brave he feels it neither under fire nor in the presence of sure death nor in the face of any well-known danger. It springs up under certain abnormal conditions, under certain mysterious influences in the presence of vague peril. Real fear is a sort of reminiscence of fantastic terror of the past. A man who believes in ghosts and imagines he sees a specter in the darkness must feel fear in all its horror.”

"Dracula's Guest" by Bram Stoker. Web. A pretty good tale of supernatural threats, which some suppose to be the intended original opening chapter of Dracula. Recommended.
The next book is The Penguin Book of French Short Stories. I have left out the stories that also appear in Best Short Stories..., but I read them just the same, in order to see how the different translators rendered them into English.

“The World as it is” by Voltaire. A parable about how society works even if it is imperfect.

“This is not a story” by Denis Diderot. A rather clever story within a story, told in narrative form.

“Augustine de Villeblanche”,by the Marquis de Sade. A clever tale of disguise and seduction that proves that de Sade could turn his pen to other uses that writing pornography. The story is remarkably tolerant of homosexuality considering when it was written, even if in the end heteronormativity wins.

“Laurette, or the Red Seal” by Alfred de Vigny. A strong condemnation of the servility expected of military men. Recommended.

“A Woman’s Revenge” by Jules Barbey d’Aurevilly. A tale of the revenge of a proud woman against proud man, and how she found a way to injure him through his pride. Recommended.

“Adelaide” by Arthur de Gobineau. A tragi-comic tale of jealousy and love. Recommended.

“The Procurator of Judea” by Anatole France. A tale abour Pontius Pilate in his old age. Recommended.

“An Outing in the Country”, by Guy de Maupassant. About a moment of happiness.

No comments: