Durtal is fascinating.

Self portrait, 1885, oil on canvas, by Félix Vallotton

Imaginary portrait of Durtal (2009)

Durtal is fascinating.

Durtal is the name of the the recurring fictional character in J.-K. Huysmans‘s novel sequence Là-Bas, En route, La Cathédrale.

Norman Mailer appropriated Durtal to rewrite Là-Bas — a novel by Huysmans about the first documented serial killer and pratictioner of Satanism, Gilles de Rais — in Trial of the Warlock, a novelette I am currently reading in a Dutch version in the collection Playboy Stories: The Best of Forty Years of Short Fiction.

3 thoughts on “Durtal is fascinating.

  1. Paul Rumsey

    “The Crowds of Lourdes” is worth reading, I have a copy from 1925 translated by W. H. Mitchell.
    Amazing descriptions of the sick being plunged into the baths, and some very funny sections where he describes the very bad murals and sculptures, which he suggests are the work of the devil!

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