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Les Diaboliques

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  1,143 Ratings  ·  65 Reviews
Quant aux femmes de ces histoires, pourquoi ne seraient-elles pas les Diaboliques ? N'ont-elles pas assez de diabolisme en leur personne pour mériter ce doux nom ? Diaboliques ! il n'y en a pas une seule ici qui ne le soit à quelque degré. Comme le Diable, qui était un ange aussi, mais qui a culbuté, la tête en bas, le... reste en haut ! Pas une ici qui ne soit pure, vertu ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published April 24th 1985 by Livre de Poche (first published 1874)
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Glenn Russell
May 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Jules Barbey d’Aurevilly (1808 – 1889), romantic with the sensibility of a decadent , self-styled dandy, teller of risqué novels and short stories, shocked readers and infuriated the authorities with the publication of Les Diaboliques. But there is much more to this captivating novel with its sumptuous, elegant language, well-crafted metaphors and highly visual and sensual imagery than simply shock value. Below are a number of themes common to the six separate tales comprising this novel:

Story w
Bill  Kerwin

"'Keep in the ranks, Ranconnet,' said Mesnilgrand, as though he had been commanding his squadron, 'and hold your tongue. Are you always going to be as hot-headed and impatient as you are before the enemy? Let me make my story manoeuvre as I like.'"

Thus Napoleon's old commander upbraids a former officer who presumes to suggest that he get to the point of his narrative in "A Dinner of Atheists," one of the six stories included in Barbey d'Aurvevilly's "Les Diaboliques."

It is good advice for any re
Jan 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
He was no longer thinking about her beauty. He was looking at her as if he wanted to attend her autopsy.

[Il ne pensait plus à sa beauté. Il la regardait comme s’il avait désiré assister à l’autopsie de son cadavre.]

I once heard someone explain what ‘rococo’ meant by saying that it’s what happens when the baroque out-baroques itself. Barbey d’Aurevilly is what happens when the Romantic movement out-Romantics itself. These stories are obsessed with the Romanticism of high emotion and the sublime –
Sep 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It may be that creatures of that sort love deception for deception's sake, as others love art for art's sake, or as the Poles love battles.
First and foremost, d'Aurevilly is concerned, enchanted, and perhaps obsessed by les dames du salon, and the more clever and deceptive, the better appreciated. He will concede that his Royalist, Catholic codes are double-edged, double-sided, even, and can be reversed for interesting effect. And he knows that (for 1820) the gallant gentleman's heroi
Jul 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 19th-century-lit
Jules Barbey d'Aurevilly has written a strange, but beautifully composed set of decadent short stories. The unifying theme is a set of heroines who are intent on vengeance, crime, or violence. In most of the six stories, there is a framing story, usually involving aging roués recalling their youths over coffee, brandy, and cigars. Typical are the old soldiers in "At a Dinner of Atheists," in which the conversation turns to women:
All took part in this abuse of women, even the oldest, the toughest
Dec 02, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-decadence
Quite a good read. Perhaps a bit stiff for some, but these varied tales of male and female relations must have been shocking at the time and a few still manage to disturb.

D'Aurevilly writes almost exclusively of the defeated, wealthy class of French monarchists, left to languish as society and history passes them by. Most are set either in D'Aurevilly's sometimes-hometown of Valognes or, of course, Paris. Interestingly, they are all told as stories within a story, so the intruiged and shocked re
I have a feeling that I wouldn't have liked the man in person (the whole aristocratic / monarchist / holier than thou thing) BUT, he sure could write. I'm not giving it five stars because I felt like it dragged a bit a few times (could have removed a page or two).

"Like everything else that provokes malice and envy, birth exercises over the very people who most bitterly reject its claims a physical ascendancy, which is perhaps the best proof of its rights. In time of Revolution this ascendancy is
J.M. Hushour
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is another of those works, notable for its now dated, obsolescent notorious-ness, but one that stands on its own merits. Les Dia (not to be mistaken for Les Diarrheaux, Eng. "The Diarrhea-tistes" by Comte En Briches) was, in its time, considered to be a work of great obscenity (it's not) and is now mistakenly considered some spine-tingling work of gothic fright (it's not). Maybe they're getting it confused with LeFanu?
Interestingly, the collection can be considered offensive by our modern
Perhaps I am mistaken, but it seems to me that if you saw Hell through a small window, it would be far more horrific than if you were able to see the place in its entirety.

Thematically, all six short stories all contain a she-devil, a he-dandy, and a strong moral message delivered amidst shockingly gruesome circumstances. Barbey saw such stories as being in keeping with his Catholic faith. Indeed, according to him, Catholicism was unshockable and ultimately accepting of audacious art from which
May 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book quite a lot. The stories may not be as diabolique as they might at first seem, but one can feel how shocking and scandalous they would be during their time. It's an easy read for people like me who are more into the stories of people than the stories themselves. D'Aurevilly puts great emphasis on the characters, along with their history, feelings and experiences. The stories are all from a third persons point of view: some from the author's, some from another "narrator".

Czarny Pies
May 25, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Les enthousiasme du style décadent de la belle époque
Shelves: french-lit
Cette collection de six contes publiée en 1874 est le plus réussi des ouvrages de Jules Barbery d'Aurevilly. Chaque nouvelle raconte l'histoire d'une femme diabolique qui commet une crime. Il faut dire que les femmes sont belles, séduisantes et bien habillées. Elles vient toutes des milieux aisées.

Les Diaboliques va plaire a tous ceux qui aime le style decadent de la France de la fin du siècle. Ce n'est pas un genre qui m'emballe beaucoup mais les exemples dans ce receuil sont tous très bien fai
May 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book was much more enjoyable than I originally anticipated. It has confirmed my very particular proclivity for 19th century erudite French smut.

D'Aurevilly is a master storyteller, and the melodrama with which he conveys these stories is superb. I don't usually require a strong storyline to keep my interest engaged in a work, so it was a welcome surprise to be so engaged by it here.

This oft-overlooked collection should be more visible than it currently is within the realm of left of field
Kai Weber
There's a lot of black romanticism in here, going all the way to bloody horror in the last story, but Barbey d'Aurevilly's style is not interested in creating tension, but more in describing states. That's the dandy background, probably. While those stories have one supernatural foot in the earlier romantic literature, the dandyism foot is standing in the mid-19th century society. And then, yes, he's a three-footed beast, there's the bluntness and horror casting a shadow on the modern times to c ...more
Apr 05, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: français
Ce serait un grand livre si l'auteur vraiment avait aimé les femmes. Sa misogynie implicite le gâte.

Il faut savourer la diablerie de telles femmes magnifiques, célébrer leurs scélératesses plutôt que moraliser contre elles par sous-entendu.

Hauteclaire, la belle escrimeuse qui porte le nom de l'épée d'Olivier, pourrait être une des personnages les plus grandes de littérature -- si seulement elle a été écrit par un type moins salaud.
Feb 24, 2016 rated it liked it
Dans l'ensemble un très bon recueil mais des histoires d'intérêt inégal, en ce qui me concerne..
En fait j'ai préféré les trois premières tandis que les trois dernières ne m'ont pas absolument passionnée. Mais j'ai adoré le style de l'auteur, très pointu, très fin et très drôle, en fait.
Mon histoire préférée est Le Rideau Cramoisi, car pour moi c'est la plus concrète et la plus glauque, celle dans lequel le mot "diabolique" prend tout son sens.
Zeynep Nur
Apr 16, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: klasikler, öykü
Öncelikle kitabı bitiremedim, ancak yarıladım. Devamını okuyacağımı düşünmüyorum çünkü bahsedilen 'Şeytani' öyküler dönemin tanınmış beylerinin çapkınlık hikayelerinden başka bir şey değil. İlk iki hikayeden sonra belki daha farklı hikayeler de vardır diye şans verip okumaya devam ettim ama birbirini tekrar edip duruyordu öyküler. Zaman kaybı olarak görüyorum maalesef.
Agnes Fontana
Apr 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
La meilleure entrée en matière pour l'oeuvre du génialissime Barbey d'Aurevilly, un écrin d'une pâte classique qui renferme l'étrange, le fantastique, l'impensable, l'inavoué. Une alliance de feu et de glace qui n'est pas sans rappeler, sous un certain rapport, Léo Perutz. "le bonheur dans le crime" a transporté la jeune escrimeuse que je fus autrefois.
Keith Davis
Sep 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Is it possible to admire a book and be disgusted by it at the same time? The stores in this collection by 19th century French author Jules Barbey d'Aurevilly feature wicked amoral women who drive men to adultery, crime, and despair. The stories are all narrated by men, usually relating their story of sin and regret to a younger man. It would be easy to dismiss Barbey d'Aurevilly as a misogynist, but he describes his "she-devils" in such enraptured detail that it is hard to believe he does not se ...more
Jim Rayder
Jun 23, 2018 rated it liked it
I found a 1961 edition translated as "The She Devils", wonder what it's going under these days. Barbey (that's real surname--he tacked on the rest to fake nobility) is an odd writer who essentially writes trash with great panache. I read only four of the six stories; the book descends as it goes along, is very overwritten, though rich in description, proto-black humor and capturing characters' vocal inflections. Although flawed, it is unique, however ultimately minor.
Barbey is a sort of Nerval W
Simona Friuli
Nov 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Adorabile decadentismo "da soffitta": un giocattolo abbandonato e ormai frusto - un relitto - che, pure, ha un suo modo rétro di fare sensazione. Se l'autore adoperava "costumi sfacciatamente all'antica e fatti per dare nell'occhio", tale è la sua posizione letteraria che attinge a tutte le suggestioni romantiche di derivazione Secentesca, addensandole al gusto prettamente più decadente per la donna diabolica che muta il sesso debole in sesso forte. Un'orda sensazionale - delitti, veleni, cuori ...more
Emilie de Saint Martin
Mar 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My favorites were La Vengeance d'une femme and Le Bonheur dans le Crime. Some of the descriptions were really beautiful because of how atmospheric they were, especially the description of the church in Un Diner d'Athées. It is at the frontier between romanticism and gothic, which I especially liked and in the stories it tells, reminded me a bit of Edgar Allan Poe.
May 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Un classique singulier où les femmes, plutôt que d'être les potiches décérébrées comme elles sont d'habitude décrites dans les ouvrages de ce siècle, deviennent des panthères, somptueuses de grâce, de finesse et de vengeances. L'auteur dresse le portrait de plusieurs d'entre elles, diaboliques dans leur mode de vie et leurs amours.
Rachel Carr
I received this from a goodreads giveaway.

The stories were certainly interesting, but the writing style takes some getting used to. Translation seemed well done - I enjoy reading books from this time period so it was enjoyable to discover a new author.
May 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Une lecture entamée dans le cadre scolaire; complètement différente de ce que j’avais pu lire. Ma nouvelle préférée fut la dernière, « la vengeance d’une femme ». J’ai trouvé par contre que « le dessous de cartes d’une partie de whistle » était beaucoup trop longue et lente, seule la fin m’a captivé. Mais je suis contente de ma lecture ^^
Julia Poncho
Aug 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Interesting but too confusing at times. The storytelling isn't really linear, we lose the plot sometimes.
Aug 13, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some of these short stories are very good and it’s rather difficult to rate.
Vittorio Ducoli
Dec 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un godibilissimo minore

Le diaboliche lette dopo aver divorato alcuni libri di Balzac permettono ancor meglio di capire la grandezza di quest'ultimo. Non che Barbey d'Aurevilly non sia un buon scrittore, tutt'altro, ma la differenza di complessità, di capacità di analisi tra i due è abissale.
I due si assomigliano: scrivono nella prima metà dell'800 il primo, poco più avanti il secondo; entrambi aborriscono i valori borghesi resi egemoni dalla rivoluzione, che identificano nel dominio del denaro e
Anna Prejanò
Mar 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Chi oggi, non preparato, intraprenda la lettura delle 'Diaboliche' di Barbey d'Aurevilly, probabilmente si sentirà poco attratto da quei preamboli prolissi di conversazioni, così diverse dalle conversazioni d'oggi, così conformi a un tempo in cui non si aveva fretta, si sedeva per lunghe ore al caffè, si scrivevano lunghe lettere, si facevano veglie intorno al focolare, e le comunicazioni erano lente, e le strade molto più tranquille, un tempo lontanissimo da noi, assai più vicino a quello in c ...more
Dec 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: naughty-classic
These are a set of six almost novella length stories completed in 1871. They are remarkably clever and subtle which develop almost as understated ‘tales of the unexpected’. They are a constant simmer of literary 1800s French realism possibly depicting the women leads as the cause of degeneration (though the stories are told by a key male) – I understand much like Madame Bovary et al it was suppressed by the French Ministry of Justice as it was believed to be a danger to public morals.

‘The Crimso
Seth Holler
Barbey was at least morally right to say in his Preface that having read Les Diaboliques, no one would wish to read it again -- though the book's popularity tells a different tale. Whether he was correct to add that this aversion-inducing quality is precisely "what comprises the morality of a book" is questionable. (For a translation of the preface, go here.)

The first story may be the best of the six - it ends with a numinous thrill. The last, which turns out remarkably frightening, begins with
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • Contes cruels
  • La confession d'un enfant du siècle
  • Mademoiselle de Maupin
  • Les Filles du feu - Les Chimères
  • Mémoires d'Outre-Tombe
  • L'Argent
  • Là-Bas (Down There)
  • Disagreeable Tales
  • Bruges-La-Morte
  • Les Caractères
  • The Chouans
  • Locus Solus
  • The Torture Garden
  • Le jeu de l'amour et du hasard
  • Colomba
  • French Decadent Tales
  • Salammbô
  • Maldoror = Les Chants de Maldoror, together with a translation of Lautréamont's Poésies
Jules-Amédée Barbey d'Aurevilly was a novelist and literary critic at the Bonapartist paper Le Pays who was influential among fin-de-siècle decadents.
He specialised in mystery tales that explored hidden motivation and hinted at evil without being explicitly concerned with anything supernatural. He had a decisive influence on writers such as Auguste Villiers de l'Isle-Adam, Henry James and Marcel
“For in Paris, whenever God puts a pretty woman there (the streets), the Devil, in reply, immediately puts a fool to keep her.” 51 likes
“Extreme civilization robs crime of its frightful poetry, and prevents the writer from restoring it. That would be too dreadful, say those good souls who want everything to be prettified, even the horrible. In the name of philanthropy, imbecile criminologists reduce the punishment, and inept moralists the crime, and what is more they reduce the crime only in order to reduce the punishment. Yet the crimes of extreme civilization are undoubtedly more atrocious than those of extreme barbarism, by virtue of their refinement, of the corruption they imply and of their superior degree of intellectualism. ("A Woman's Vengeance")” 10 likes
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