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PRINCESS CAMION & OTHER TALES OF ENCHANTMENT
by Marie-Madeleine de Lubert
adapted by Brian Stableford
cover by Mike Hoffman
“But how can I marry you?” I said. “What sort of ceremony is necessary for that?”
“Flay me,” she replied, tenderly, “and don’t marry me; I love you as much as that.”
Mademoiselle de Lubert’s first fantastic tale, published in 1737, was the striking original Tecserion in which the eponymous king of the Land of Ostriches is madly in love with Belzamire, Princess of Flowers, who herself dotes on the King’s nephew, Melidor. The story is replete with elaborate descriptions of strange societies, including one located on Venus.
The fascination extravagantly displayed in her stories with the metamorphoses of humans into animals is reflected in the ambiguous naming of realms and individuals. Such metamorphoses are a common motif within the genre, but no other writer ever deployed it with the same intensity and fascination as Mademoiselle de Lubert.
Both Princess Camion and Prince Frozen and Princess Sparkling (1743) strike a better balance between surreal extravagance and narrative discipline, but remain flamboyant and intent on defying conventional expectations. There is justice in the fact that Princess Camion is now her best known work by virtue of the availability on line of a video of a 2014 dramatization by a French theater company.
Tecserion; or, The Prince of Ostriches
Princess Lionnette and Prince Coquerico
Prince Frozen and Princess Sparkling
Introduction and Notes by Brian Stableford.