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Stories to Read by Candlelight

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  16 ratings  ·  13 reviews
'Stories to Read by Candlelight' contains eight stories first published in the 1890s by the French author, Jean Lorrain, translated here into English for the first time as a collection. Jean draws the reader back in time to his provincial childhood when his grandmother's seamstress would tell him stories that gave him goose bumps and made him jump under the covers. The cha ...more
Paperback, 79 pages
Published September 17th 2019 by Odyssey Books
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Jennie Rosenblum
Oct 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is a translated version of stories from France in the 1890s.  The current author and translator did a wonderful job keeping the old-time feel of the read.  With the glorious use of language this is the perfect read for this time of year.  The stories have the edge of scary; you know that place where it takes a little thought to realize exactly how far your fear can go? This is a collection to bring back memories of your childhood and the ghost stories told in dark rooms with only flash ...more
Carmel Bendon
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This collection was written by French author Jean Lorrain in the late 19th century. In his introduction Lorrain says that he came to know these stories because, as a young child, he and his cousins heard them from Norine, a seamstress in his grandmother’s house. The stories are, in this way, situated within the French oral tradition and this layering of narrative voice works very well in conveying the ‘feel’ of tales told around a table or in a room dimly lit by candles.
On the surface, and to o
Nov 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Stories to Read by Candlelight recaptures memories of a provincial childhood full of 'melancholy and dreams.' Apart from the tales, the book is also strewn with the French author's lyrical remembrances of those early years and the places he inhabited.

'...When I think of that attic, I immediately see a blue-green vision with seaweed moving through it, and shimmering reflections, and large collapsed things: they are yardarms, masts and ships like cathedrals, spectres of flotsam from bygone days, g
Emily Ryan
Dec 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
With these stories being well over some 100 years old, I was unsure of what to expect with the collection, but from the get-go I was very much excited to dive in. Like many I have personal affections for the likes of Hans Christian Andersen, The Brothers Grimm, Poe and Lovecraft, so believed the book to follow on a similar vein, to which I was not disappointed! Being first published in French in the 1890’s I was unsure if ‘Stories to Read by Candlelight’ would be entirely my style, nor if the fi ...more
Zoe C. Fox
Nov 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"Stories to Tell by Candlelight", by Jean Lorrain and translated by Patricia Worth, is a delightful look into the gothic stories that accompanied childhood in the Belle Epoque. Being a translation of a book written as a recounting of tales from the original author's childhood, I was very impressed with the translator's ability to maintain the different narrative voices in period accurate language without leaving the reader feeling as if something has been lost from the source materials.
While Lor
B.G. Hilton
Nov 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Jean Lorrain writes what might be called fairy tales, with the conceit that the he can only half remember these stories, which themselves contain half-memories of earlier times. These are stories full of pathos and regret. They're very nineteenth century, full of a romantic longing for an earlier, pre-industrial world. But that world is gone forever, and that means that the stories are mostly sad stories. Possibly the closest thing I have read to them is Wilde's Happy Prince stories, except Lorr ...more
Nov 25, 2019 rated it liked it
This book is a collection of eight short stories published in the 1980s where author, Jean Lorraine recounts the stories that where told to him by his grandmothers seamstress. Each story falls somewhere in between legend and fairytale!

Throughout the book he explains how this story affected him as a child which I really enjoyed, I liked hearing his reactions and his insights into each story they were really interesting even though they could be quite jarring at times.

The introduction to this book
Shelley Nolan
Oct 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my first time reading a translated work and I was hooked from the opening introduction. It has a wonderful sense of nostalgia as it tells of stories from the author’s childhood, some of them eerie and disturbing, others whimsical or cautionary. I loved the parts where Jean Lorrain explained each story and how it affected him as a small boy and could clearly picture him watching on as his family’s seamstress regaled them with fantastical tales that made him shiver. Stories that would reso ...more
Dec 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Thank you Henry Roi for sending me a copy of this book for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Stories to Read by Candlelight are stories told to Jean Lorrain during his childhood by his grandmother’s seamstress in the 1800s. These stories to me felt kinda Grimm fairy tale-esque. I enjoyed these tales but I did not find them as “scary” as the author did when he was remembering them. The stories were entertaining in the respect that they felt like old fairy tales, but for me, t
Fiona J.
Nov 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Not simply a collection of stories, but a step back in time, re-creating the atmosphere of the author's childhood. There is something very cosy and nostalgic about this work, and I found myself absorbed in the tales and the characters that really bring an imaginary world to life. Patricia Worth has done an excellent job of translating this book, maintaining the author's voice and style, while making it very readable indeed. This would make a lovely and unusual gift. ...more
Patricia Worth
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I've given 5 stars to Jean Lorrain's original French version of my translation: 'Contes pour lire à la chandelle'. While translating it I read it umpteen times and developed an admiration for Lorrain's storytelling gift. My favourite stories in the collection are 'Princess Mandosiane', 'Madame Gorgibus' and 'Queen Maritorne'. But every one of the stories has elements and incidents that are strangely familiar today, 120 years later. ...more
Ilena Holder
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all ages
Just finished this short read. it would make a classy girlfriend gift for Christmas. It did put me back into my childhood and I felt as if I was in a large old home in France with someone reading one story per night before I went to sleep! The translation was spot on!
Serene Conneeley
Feb 02, 2021 rated it liked it
Stories to Read by Candlelight contains eight stories by French author Jean Lorrain, first published in the 1890s, and recently translated into English by Patricia Worth. To be honest, I bought it for Erin-Claire Barrow’s illustrations, because I love the book she wrote and illustrated, The Adventurous Princess and Other Feminist Fairy Tales – unfortunately I didn’t love the stories in this collection though. They’re vaguely remembered tales the author’s nurse told him when he was a child, and m ...more
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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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