by Charles-Marie Flor O'Squarr
adapted by Brian Stableford
cover by Phil Cohen
Henriette has to share her bed with that infamous putrescence; she feels it next to her. Sometimes she attempts a desperate movement; then the cadaver rolls off her, with the slap of a dangling arm, and, abruptly thrust away, falls to the floor.
“Phantoms” (1885) is a classic study of a haunting, in which the narrator refuses to admit that the apparitions from which he suffers can be anything but hallucinations, but then ties himself in knots trying to explain them in terms of his own psychology, which he claims unconvincingly to be free from guilt. The story is one of the most interesting and elaborate 19th century developments of the theme of an ambiguous haunting, notable for its acidic artistry.
Also included in this collection are several darkly ironic contes cruels, remarkable for their relentless quest for originality, often striking in the unusual twists that give an extra turn of the screw to the psychological demolition of their protagonists, and a novella, My Interment (1893), which develops one of the classic motifs of horror fiction, ostensibly in a thoroughly naturalistic fashion.
THE PRÉGAMAIN SPRING.
Under the Commune.
The Museum of Sovereigns.
The Baby Portrait
The Rock Lobster
MY INTERMENT. [Mon enterrement] (1893)
Introduction, Afterword and Notes by Brian Stableford.