Cult fiction #1

Musk, Hashish and Blood

Musk, Hashish and Blood

Musk, Hashish, and Blood is a French language collection of tales by Hector France, translated into English By Alfred Allinson, designed and etched by Paul Avril.

Its original title was Sous le Burnous (1886).

The book is mentioned in Sax Rohmer‘s Dope:

“Which of these three rooms you choose?” she asked, revealing her teeth in one of those rapid smiles which were mirthless as the eternal smile of Sin Sin Wa.
“Oh,” said Rita hurriedly, “I don’t know. Which do you want, Mollie?”
“I love this end one!” cried Mollie. “It has cushions which simply reek of oriental voluptuousness and cruelty. It reminds me of a delicious book I have been reading called Musk, Hashish, and Blood.”
“Hashish!” said Mrs. Sin, and laughed harshly. “One night you shall eat the hashish, and then–”
She snapped her fingers, glancing from Rita to Pyne.
“Oh, really? Is that a promise?” asked Mollie eagerly.
“No, no!” answered Mrs. Sin. “It is a threat!”

Richard Francis Burton mentions it in the comments to his translation of The Book of One Thousand and One Night:

“All the splendour and squalor, the beauty and baseness, the glamour and grotesqueness, the magic and the mournfulness, the bravery and the baseness of Oriental life are here: its pictures of the three great Arab passions, love, war and fancy, entitle it to be called “Blood, Musk and Hashish.””

From a description by Alexander Books, its most recent publisher:

This graphic and exciting picture of the Algerian desert, its tribes and their astounding customs is a sensational recounting of France’s experiences in North Africa. With little hyperbole describing his fascinating life, France tells the stories of his adventures in the nineteenth century Arab world from an eyewitness view that is as exciting today as it was a century ago. Not much is known of Hector France, except that he lived an adventurous life and wrote about it with style and gusto. When this book was first printed in a limited edition of only 500 copies in Britain in 1900, France felt, perhaps with some cause, that many of the things he described would have sent his Victorian readership into shock. Yet there is a certain romance to be discovered amid the exquisitely described barbarism, an exoticism that cannot be found in today’s world.

This post is part of a new series: cult fiction