Ma Petite Ville


A typically splendid fin de siècle cover design by Léon Rudnicki for an 1898 volume of childhood memoirs by Jean Lorrain (1855–1906). The author was a flamboyantly homosexual poet, novelist and journalist whose addiction to ether and other excesses ended his life at the age of 50. Philippe Jullian is quoted on as saying Lorrain was “truly, at the fin de siècle, Sodom’s ambassador to Paris”. Jullian, as I never tire of repeating, wrote the best book on the Symbolist period, Dreamers of Decadence (1971), and that quote reminds me that I ought to track down a copy of his Lorrain biography.

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3 thoughts on “Ma Petite Ville”

  1. Jullian was quite a character himself; wrote some camp novels in his youth, illustrated other books for wealthy snobs then turned into a fin de siècle expert. His Wilde biography is pretty good although rather overshadowed by the Ellmann book. His very camp and (from its description) bizarre novel Flight into Egypt is a book I really need to track down.

  2. Dear John

    “Flight into Egypt” should’nt be too difficult to track down on the Web since it was published over here by Elek in the late 60’s/early ’70’s. It is amusing in small doses – a mixture of sub-Firbank and Harold Acton. I believe Jullian killed himself in the 1980’s because of some personal scandal.


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