Category Archives: fantastique

Introducing Le Comte de Gabalis

Introducing Le Comte de Gabalis

Sourced via pierrepainblanc

I’ve just spent a good deal of hours researching Comte de Gabalis, a quest prompted by a new release on Creation BooksCreation Oneiros imprint and the reference I found there to occult fiction. Wikipedia has no entry on occult fiction but Googling them did bring up Gabalis.

I am not that a big a fan of occultism except when I find it represented in fiction, such as supernatural horror or le fantastique.

A recap of what I found:

The Comte De Gabalis is a 17th century grimoire (posing as a novel of ideas) by French writer Abbé N. de Montfaucon de Villars, first published anonymously in 1670. The book is dedicated to Rosicrucianis and Cabalism and based on Paracelsus‘s four elementals: Gnomes, earth elementals; Undines; water elementals, Sylphs, air elementals and Salamanders, fire elementals. It is composed of five discourses given by a Count or spiritual master to the student or aspirant. The Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology by the Gale Group notes that the work may be a satire of the writings of la Calprenède, a popular French writer of the 17th century.

David Teniers the Younger. The Alchemist. Oil on canvas. 44 x 58.5 cm. Palazzo Pitti, Galleria Palatina, Florence, Italy.  Comte de Gabalis The Comte De Gabalis is a 17th century grimoire (posing as a novel of ideas) by French writer Abbé N. de Montfaucon de Villars. The book is dedicated to Rosicrucianis and Cabalism and based on Paracelsus’s four elementals: Gnomes, earth elementals; Undines; water elementals, Sylphs, air elementals and Salamanders, fire elementals. It is composed of five discourses given by a Count or spiritual master to the student or aspirant.  It was anonymously published in 1670 under the title: “Comte De Gabalis.”  The meaning suggests the Count of the Cabala as the text is cabalistic in nature.  The “Holy Cabala” is mentioned explicitly throughout. The Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology by the Gale Group notes that  the work may be a satire of the writings of la Calprenède, a popular French writer of the 17th century.

David Teniers the Younger. The Alchemist

It was also very pleasant to find and wikify elements in fiction:

Shakespeare‘s plays abound in elemental beings including Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Ariel in The Tempest. Alexander Pope was influenced by the Comte de Gabalis in his Rosicrucian poem “Rape of the Lock.” Sylphs have been the favorites of the bards. The “Mahābhārata” is full of stories about beings of the elements and their heroic offspring with their human partners. Similar themes and references are found in Homer‘s The Iliad and The Odyssey in which the elemental beings appear as gods and goddesses such as the mighty Zeus, Hera, Aphrodite, Athena, Apollo, and Achilles, son of a mortal man and the goddess Nymph Thetis (see The Iliad by Robert Fagles, Penguin Classics, 1990). German writer Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué wrote about a beautiful water-nymph, “Undine,” and Sir Walter Scott endowed the White Lady of Avenel with many of the attributes of the nymphs. Other works or characters influenced include Lord Lytton‘s Zanoni, James Barrie‘s Tinker Bell; and the bowlers Rip Van Winkle encountered in the Catskill Mountains. The story of Melusina is based on the historical marriage of a gentleman and a water nymph. Charles Mackay, father of Marie Corelli, wrote “Salamandrine,” a poem about a great love between a human and a female salamander. Cabalism, in general, influenced many Mediaeval poems as well as the writings of Dante.

The most interesting aspect of The Comte De Gabalis is the sexual union of gods and mortals. I like half creatures and I like the sexual part of it. It was the work of the minor British publisher of  anthropologica Robert H. Fryar who most clearly brought this link to my attention by reprinting in the late 19th century the Comte de Gabalis with its tale of the immortalization of elementals through sexual intercourse with men and supplementing the work with long citations from the recently discovered Demoniality Or Incubi and Succubi[1], an eighteenth-century work by Father Sinistrari on the dangers of incubi and succubi.

Of a Fool, Who Thought His Wife Had Two Openings

Poggio

I have a definite fondness for crude humour of the Middle Ages. The history of the genre was first documented in Italian scholar Poggio‘s Facetiae, a collection of humorous and indecent tales.

There is a presumably American 1930 private edition titled Facetia Erotica. Its full text can be found here.

It features such stories as Of a Fool, Who Thought His Wife Had Two Openings.

Poggio: Facetia Erotica, Title Page Poggio ‘s Facetiae, a collection of humorous and indecent tales is his best known work: it is available in several English translations. There is a public domain 1930 edition titled Facetia Erotica. It features such stories as Of a Fool, Who Thought His Wife Had Two Openings.

Facetiae, here published as Facetia Erotica. (source)

A peasant of our district, a stupid devil, who was utterly ignorant in matters of sex, got married. Thus it happened one night that his wife turned her back to him in bed, so that her buttocks rested in his lap. He had his weapon ready and landed by chance right in the goal. Marveling at his success, he inquired of his wife if she had two openings. And when she answered in the affirmative, he cried: “Hoho! I am content with but one; the second is entirely superfluous.” Upon which the sly woman, who was secretly consorting with the local priest, replied: “Then we can give the second away to charity. Let us grant it to the church and our priest.” The peasant, thinking to be relieved of an unnecessary burden, agreed [read the rest].

Introducing Mr.Fox: Darker Deeper

Introducing Mr.Fox: Darker Deeper

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYN5fB_k-uw]

Mr.Fox: Darker Deeper[1][2] is an Anglophone visual culture blog with a focus on transgressive black and white photographs founded in May 2008.

As of May 2009, its most recent entries included Deus Irae Psychedelico[3], Robert Gregory Griffeth[4] , Rik Garrett[5] , Laurie Lipton[6] , Simon Marsden[7] , Sanne Sannes[8] , Jeffrey Silverthorne[9] , Edward Donato[10]

As of May 2009, the blog was connected with Blind Pony, EDK, Fetishart, Indie Nudes, Medieval Art, Morbid Anatomy, Ofellabuta, SensOtheque, With the ghost and Woolgathersome.

Jean Marembert, and, Icon of Erotic Art #41

Nude by Marembert

Nude (c.1930) by Jean Marembert [source]

Icon of erotic art #41

Au carrefour étrange uncovered a 1947 edition of Petrus Borel‘s Champavert [1] and presents us with the exceptional work of Jean Marembert.

Jean Marembert (19041968) was a French artist who is tangentially connected to such people as Louis Cattiaux, Jean Crotti, Suzanne Valadon, Kees Van Dongen, Paul Colin, Moise Kisling, Man Ray, Leonor Fini and Labisse. He exhibited at the Salon des Indépendants and the Salon des Tuileries. His biography can be found in the 2004 book on figurative painting, Modern Figurative Paintings: The Paris Connection. Modern Figurative Paintings: The Paris Connection (2004) is a book by Martin Wolpert and Jeffrey Winter on modern figurative painting.

Modern Figurative Painters (2004) [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

From the blurb of Modern Figurative Paintings: The Paris Connection:

“The first half of the 19th Century spawned one of the most exciting concentrations of artists and artistic innovation in history. The French impressionists opened the door to creative freedoms never before experienced, and a community rich in artistic and intellectual talent coalesced to forever change the direction of art. This book documents more than 150 artists who worked, studied, and exhibited in Paris between 1890 and 1950. Many of them have been completely overlooked by scholars and art historians. Their work encompasses the La Belle Époque, Postimpressionist, Cubist, and School of Paris movements. More than 375 color images of their paintings document this fabulous cultural explosion, and also present a visual time capsule, showing the populace at work and at play in bars, cabarets, and jazz clubs, even scenes of the artists’ own studios. This book has been a labor of love; many years in the making. Collectors, curators, and historians will find it an invaluable tool for understanding the art of this period. By documenting artists who have not been written about for many years, the authors offer insight to their paintings, which can still be acquired at equitable prices.”

Artists in this book include Jean Crotti , Grigory Gluckmann, Louis Icart, Louis Legrand, André Lhote, Jean Marembert and Marie Vassilieff.

Nikolai Gogol @200

Nikolai Gogol @200

Poprishchin (protagonist of the novel by Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol “Diary of a Madman”.  by Ilya Yefimovich Repin by you.

Poprishchin, protagonist of Nikolai Gogol‘s “Diary of a Madman” painted by Ilya Repin

Nikolai Gogol will be 200 tomorrow morning (that’s the day after tomorrow, I skipped a day here). Like so many of us of the internet generation, we stumbled upon Gogol via Mario Bava’s Black Sunday.

He is an icon of 19th century literature, Russian literature, grotesque literature and fantastic literature.

“What an intelligent, queer, and sick creature!” —Ivan Turgenev

“I don’t know whether anyone liked Gogol exclusively as a human being. I don’t think so; it was, in fact, impossible. How can you love one whose body and spirit are recovering from self-inflicted torture?” —Sergei Aksakov

Gogol wrote in the literary tradition of E.T.A. Hoffmann (The Sandman) and Laurence Sterne (Tristram Shandy), often involving elements of the fantastic and grotesque. In addition, Gogol’s works are often outrageously funny. The mix of humor, social realism, the fantastic, and unusual prose forms are what readers love about his work.

Carlo Jacono @80 and Italian exploitation

Carlo Jacono @80 and Italian exploitation

Segretissimo n° 75 (art cover by Carlo Jacono)

An Italian translation of Malory by American author James Hadley Chase

Cover design by Carlo Jacono

Carlo Jacono (March 17, 1929June 7, 2000) was an Italian illustrator detective novel covers and regular contributor to Mondadori’s gialli and Urania magazine.

A digression into Italian exploitation.

My interest in regional exploitation or pulp culture is that what it tells about the region where it is produced. I am searching for national stereotypes by way of their exploitation culture; regional stereotypes deduced from regional fears and desires (horror and eroticism).

Italian exploitation culture is literature and films in the “low culture” tradition originating from Italy, cultural products which address the prurient interests of its audience. A quick glance at Italian society on the one hand, which its firm anchor in puritan Christianity, and its abundance on the other hand of graphic exploitation material, quickly reveals its double standards.

In print culture there has been giallo fiction, quickly followed by adult comics, the so-called fumetti neri.

But the nature of Italian prurience is most readily revealed in Italian cinema. Genres such as cannibal films, Italian erotica, Italian horror films, giallo films, mondo films, il sexy, spaghetti westerns, sword and sandal films all went a tad further than contemporary products of European exploitation.

Had it not for the world wide web, these maligned genres would probably not have been so widely known, but if you prefer reading books to the internet, here is a list of publications on European exploitation you may enjoy.

Pierre Bourgeade III

Plexus with a contribution by Pierre Bourgeade

Plexus (? – ?)

Plexus was a French language magazine, started under the auspices of Planète science fiction magazine to which the late Pierre Bourgeade contributed.

Planète (The Planet) was a French fantastic realism magazine created by Jacques Bergier and Louis Pauwels. It ran from 1961 to 1972.

See also: plexus, http://journaux-anciens.chapitre.com/PLEXUS.html

Daedalus devised a hollow wooden cow

A minotaur is a legendary half-creature.

The Minotaur by  George Frederic Watts   1817-1904 by you.

George Frederic Watts‘s The Minotaur

George Frederic Watts paints The Minotaur in 1885[1].

In 1898 Klimt contributed the poster “Theseus and the Minotaur[2] to the first Vienna Secession group exhibition, a poster rich in symbolic meaning. The fig-leaf was deliberately missing, which caused some controversy.

The Minotaur creature was the offspring of a certain Queen Pasiphae and a white bull. The myth goes thus: after one of Poseidon‘s angry spells which caused Pasiphae to be overcome with a fit of madness in which she fell in love with the bull, Pasiphae went to Daedalus for assistance, and Daedalus devised a way for her to satisfy her passions. He constructed a hollow wooden cow covered with cowhide for Pasiphae to hide in and allow the bull to mount her. The result of this union was the Minotaur.

Looking for more minotaurs brings up Michael Parkes‘s one[3].

Update: a wikified comment by Paul Rumsey.

Watts was inspired to paint this picture by reading “The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon” by William Thomas Stead. The tiny bird crushed in the hand of the minotaur is symbolic of the child prostitute.

Update: Last night, before falling asleep the image of the below VHS cover sprang to mind.

The Coming of Sin (1978) by Spanish Eurotrash director José Ramón Larraz. The cover of the VHS echoes the union of Pasiphaë and the bull that produced the Minotaur.

The Coming of Sin (1978)  José Ramón Larraz

La Fontaine Anspach

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La Fontaine Anspach, Vismarkt, Brussels

La Fontaine Anspach was originally located at the Place de Brouckère. It was displaced to the Vismarkt. The monument is an hommage to Jules Anspach.

It was designed by Emile Janlet with the collaboration of Paul De Vigne, Julien Dillens, Godefroid Devreese and Pierre Braecke. Georges Houtstont did the ornaments.

One I forgot:

I hope they never “clean” this. No matter how dirty, I always prefer it to the restauration.