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Nightmares of an Ether-Drinker

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4.03  ·  Rating details ·  145 ratings  ·  19 reviews
None of Jean Lorrain’s biographers has contrived to discover exactly when or why he began taking ether, or how much of it he took before realising (too late) that it was an extremely bad idea. The drug certainly helped provide the feverish, nightmarish atmosphere of these wonderfully decadent and sophisticated tales, and many of the apparitions with which they are populate ...more
Paperback, 302 pages
Published February 8th 2016 by Snuggly Books (first published 1895)
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Glenn Russell
Jun 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition


Nightmares of an Ether-Drinker is a collection of twenty-seven very readable, highly provocative and enjoyable short-stories by Jean Lorrain, member of the French Decadent movement of the late nineteenth century. And Jean Lorrain was a decadent with attitude: as a leading journalist of the day, many of his literary reviews were brutal. How brutal? Marcel Proust challenged him to a duel. Guy de Maupassant likewise requested pistols at ten paces. You can read all about Lorrain’s fascinating life a
...more
Nancy Oakes
As I noted before, it just does not get any better than this.

I had no clue when I first picked up Lorrain's Monsieur de Phocas that it would mark the beginning of my obsession with this author, and indeed, this entire school of writing. I also noted that Lorrain's work has a way of causing the outside world to disappear because I am so deep into his, a rarity for me. This collection of 27 short stories only cements that feeling.

Once again, I won't be going into any detail about any of these dar
...more
Patrick.G.P
May 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: decadence, my-library
In Nightmares of an Ether Drinker, the protagonists are the damned and restless, from writers, sculptors and dandies in fin de siècle France to doomed princesses trapped within dark and twisted fairy-tales, all of them looking for love, beauty, and the unknown. In his introduction, Brian Stableford writes that Lorrain’s favorite word was equivocal, which perfectly sums up the stories in this collection. Lorrain never lets us peer too long behind the veil and what seems like a ghastly apparition ...more
S̶e̶a̶n̶
Mar 28, 2019 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to S̶e̶a̶n̶ by: Jordan West
It would be difficult for a collection to completely fulfill the enticing promise offered by such a provocative title. I was doubtful that it could and such doubt was not unwarranted. To be fair, this is a broad selection of Lorrain's writings spanning the length of the fin de siècle period, and the so-called ether nightmares only constitute a fraction of its content. In the section of early stories, Lorrain is clearly just getting his footing; these are brief sketches of minor significance in h ...more
James
Jan 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A book so representative of the 19th-century French Decadence that the words within all but cast yellow shadows, and one almost feels that one should be sipping from a glass of absinthe while perusing its poisonous pages. I've always felt that Jean Lorrain (along with Leon Bloy) was one of the more criminally untranslated writers of that era, so it's nice to see another English version of his work in print (as far as I know, the only other book of his that has been translated into English is his ...more
Tosh
Jan 16, 2017 rated it liked it
The prototype Decadent/drug culture book from the turn-of-the-century France. Short narratives that deal with the supernatural, fairytales, the occult, sexual observations, and of course, ether-drinking. Reading this, I gather Jean Lorrain's work is very pulp orientated of that time and place (Paris). For me, not as enjoyable as reading the Fantomas series of around the same time, but still, an important piece of literary history, that now has come to light, thanks to the translator and editor B ...more
Seregil of Rhiminee
Mar 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Originally published at Risingshadow.

Because I recently read Jean Lorrain's Monsieur de Phocas (Tartarus Press, 2015) and was captivated by its decadent and dark atmosphere, I was eager to read Nightmares of an Ether-Drinker. I'm glad that I had an opportunity to read it, because it's an excellent shorty story collection.

Nightmares of an Ether-Drinker was a very pleasant and rewarding reading experience for me, because it was everything I expected it to be. It was a fascinatingly decadent, dark,
...more
César Lasso
Jul 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Se trata de una recopilación de relatos desasogadores, que reflejan las alucinaciones que sufren los adictos al éter que arrasó Francia en la segunda mitad del siglo XIX. En efecto, este librito rinde culto a una droga, tal como lo hicieron antes de él Thomas de Quincey con el opio en su Confessions of an English Opium Eater y después de él Mohammed Mrabet con el hashish en su M'hashish.

Para una reseña en inglés más demorada, se puede consultar la del goodreader Glenn Russell en https://www.good
...more
Rob Atkinson
Feb 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
[3.5 stars] Phantasmagoric and disturbing hallucinatory impressions of late 19th c. Paris, some orientalist fantasy, and then a nod to the fairy tale tradition in the last ‘contes cruels’, though many of these short works feel more like a sketch than a fleshed-out story. Some like “Glaucous Eyes” rise above and are memorably chilling. Lorrain casts a certain spell when his prose doesn’t get TOO purple, as in two of the longest, purely imaginative works here, set in ancient Egypt, which close the ...more
Francesca
Jun 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“The imperishable mystery of the masque, attractive and repulsive at the same time, demonstrates the techniques and the key images—and, above all, the imperious need—according to which certain individuals, on appointed days, contrive to make themselves up, to disguise themselves, to change their identity and to cease to be that which they are: in a word, to escape themselves.

“What instincts, what appetites, what hopes, what lusts, what maladies of the soul underlie the gaudily coloured cardboar
...more
Persona
Feb 08, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Que conste que es solo una opinión personal y entiendo que el libro perfectamente tenga su publico pero a mi no me ha hecho prácticamente nada (incluso he tenido en cuenta cuando salio y también la vida del autor).

Pienso que se pierde demasiado en descripciones y palabras rimbombantes y no consigue, al menos para mi, meterme en lo que quiere contar. En muchas ocasiones intentaba entrar en la atmósfera pero me tiraba atrás con demasiado relleno que no me interesaba demasiado y quería que se enfoc
...more
Pablo Del
Dec 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Colección de cuentos adscritos a la corriente decadentista francesa y cuyo hilo conductor en todos ellos es la presencia más o menos visible de la droga del éter, tan en boga por los años finiseculares del XIX. En general los sucesos de los distintos relatos son producto de monomanías, neurosis y alucinaciones de sus protagonistas (destacando entre estos 'Los orificios de la máscara' y 'El poseído'), pero también los hay que juegan con la ambigüedad o el terror psicológico ('Un crimen desconocid ...more
Eric
Dec 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
A collection of Lorrain's short stories touching on experiences of ether, for which he was well known. The first few of these read like grotesques, given to building up to moments of haunting panic in some way sparked by ether use, and it's in these earlier stories that you feel like you're getting stories meant to portray the effects of that drug on the writers' mind. I could've skipped most of the middle stories, but The Princess of the Red Lillies and Narkiss are a couple of the best told Dec ...more
Woolrich13
Feb 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A series of nightmarish vignettes and some supernatural horror from an eccentric but brilliant French Decadent of the era of the 1890s and early 1900s and all ably translated by Professor Brian Stableford.
David
Jan 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Almost too good to be true.
rob
Oct 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nice look at the tip of the sickle, the fin de siecle, from the voice phased in ether, Lorrain. I mostly got tired of the draught, the stories without the sauce are the best, like "The Spirit of the Ruins " or "The Spectral Hand", where the decorated wit of the characters is more delirious with action or reaction and not just passive; more of faerie than of zombie. The intro was a good read too, providing us with a sad start that I think is key in feeling the melancholy of the earliest stories ...more
Andrew Weitzel
May 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Apparently ether makes you permanently afraid of ghosts. Noted. Probably should add it to the "never try" list. Makes for great short stories, though!
Cobertizo
Apr 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cuando se acercan fechas tan oscuras (festividades santas), me sobrevienen los relatos de Jean Lorrain:


"Todas esas capuchas guardaban silencio en una inmovilidad de espectros y, por encima de sus coronas fúnebres, la ojiva de las ventanas, recortándose en claro sobre el cielo blanco de luna, los cubría cual mitra de obispo. Yo sentía que mi razón zozobraba en el espanto; ¡lo sobrenatural me envolvía! Esa rigidez, ese silencio de todos esos seres enmascarados. ¿Quiénes eran? ¡Otro minuto de incer
...more
Noa Velasco
Me gusta cómo está escrito, las descripciones son muy buenas y los cuentos tienen intriga y suspense. Es más, me interesaba más cómo estaba escrito que lo que había escrito. Como punto negativo, a día de hoy las historias resultan bastante flojas, parecen cojear o no estar bien cerradas. En parte, se explica por la relación que tienen muchas entre sí, aportando nuevos datos, pero aún así nos hemos acostumbrado a otro tipo de historias y finales. A menos que te embargue la locura de los hermanos ...more
Raquel
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Nov 11, 2008
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Oct 21, 2012
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Jun 01, 2016
Becca Jones
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Jean Lorrain, born Paul Duval, was a French poet and novelist of the Symbolist school.

Lorrain was a dedicated disciple of dandyism, and openly gay. Lorrain wrote a number of collections of verse, including La forêt bleue (1883) and L'ombre ardente, (1897). He is also remembered for his decadent novels and short stories, such as Monsieur de Phocas (1901) and Histoires des masques (1900), as well as
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