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Smarra & Trilby

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3.95  ·  Rating details ·  38 ratings  ·  8 reviews
Charles Nodier (1780-1844) was one of the key figures of the French Romantic movement. In France he was one of the first populariser of the literary vampire story: Smarra, or the Demons of the Night(1821) is the most notable and horrific of his stories. Nodier also carried forward the French tradition of literary fairy tales, which he enriched with the fantastic extravagan ...more
Paperback, 125 pages
Published February 1st 1994 by Dedalus (first published February 1822)
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Nancy Oakes
Rereading, and then on the "more later" stack it goes.

First impressions: oh my god. What a lovely book. The first story, "Smarra," takes the reader into the realm of dreams within dreams within dreams, and Moreau's Jupiter et Sémélé on the cover is beyond appropriate. What dreams they are indeed! Some have seen in this story an early mention of vampirism, which I'll have to give more thought to over the next few days as I give it another read.

On to the second story, "Trilby," which at first I
...more
Shawn
Nov 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
Dedalus pairs two works by Charles Nodier, his oft-noted (due to it's vampiric content) novella "Smarra" and another work about elves in Scotland called "Trilby" (no relation to the Trilby/Svengali novel by George Du Maurier). These are beautifully packaged together under a cover sporting a painting by Gustave Moreau, "Jupiter et Semele".

"Smarra: or the Demons of the Night" is an amazing work and justifiably deserves it reputation as a fantastique classic. The story starts with Lorenzo speaking
...more
Dfordoom
Sep 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Despite being a major figure in the Romantic Movement in France Charles Nodier (1780-1844) has remained almost unknown in the English-speaking world, with just two brief tales for children having been translated into English in the 1920s. That was until Daedalus published two English translations of two exceptionally interesting novellas by this author in 1993, under the title “Smarra” and “Trilby”.

Trilby, or the Imp of Argyll, written in 1822, is essentially a fairy tale. Trilby is a household
...more
Dan
Mar 02, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dedalus, fantasy, classic
This story collection contains two novellas: Smarra gets two stars, Trilby two and a half. Both were disappointing chores to read. If you are considering taking up Smarra because you heard it was the earliest vampire story, I think you're heading for disappointment. In a dream sequence, some undead creatures with sharpened teeth that like to drink blood are described, but nothing further. There's no real vampire lore or any characterization of vampirism to sink one's teeth into. I had a hard tim ...more
Mel Bossa
Jul 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Le premier récit est un tour de force à mon avis. Trop souvent lorsqu'un écrivain essaie de mêler rêve et réalité, ça fait un peu forcé. Ici, Nodier m'a entraînée, non, plus, comme ensorcelée, et je suis entrée dans une épisode de paralysie du sommeil.
Lorenzo dort et est visité, hanté, par un ami qui est ni mort ni vivant mais mort, oui. Un ami assassiné par une sorcière d'une beauté empirique et son petit deguelasse de démon.
Les muses, la Grèce antique, le vin qui coule, la blessure de son ami
...more
Wreade1872
Aug 18, 2016 rated it it was ok
So i read Smarra quite a while ago but from what i remember its complete nonsense. Just random surrealism stuff, they say there's a vampire in there somewhere but i recall no evidence to that. [2/5]

Trilby on the other hand had a lot of potential, about a sprite who gets exorcised from the cottage he haunts. Its this conflict between the old pagan and new christian ideologies, good stuff. Unfortunately its completely overwritten, Nodier is similar to Théophile Gautier in style. Overwritten, overl
...more
Paul
Nov 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Two exquisite Romantic prose-poems from Nodier. „Smarra“ is a fever dream put to words, with seemingly as much of internal logic and structure as you may expect. There is much more to it that the procession of striking nightmare-imagery, but one needs enter its rhythm to enjoy it properly. If you manage to do so, it really is akin to experiencing a dream of haunted woods and witches and demons of ancient Thessaly, one that is both terrifying and beautiful. „Trilby“ is more straightforward, somet ...more
Leah
Feb 28, 2014 rated it liked it
Nodier's prose was wonderful to read, even in translation, and its rich flowing descriptions complement the meandering multi-layered plots. The overall feel of these two novellas fit well with the dreamscapes they described.
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Jean Charles Emmanuel Nodier (April 29, 1780 – January 27, 1844), was a French author who introduced a younger generation of Romanticists to the conte fantastique, gothic literature, vampire tales, and the importance of dreams as part of literary creation, and whose career as a librarian is often underestimated by literary historians.

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