Robert Ziegler, scholar of the French decadents

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Robert Ziegler, scholar of the French decadents

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Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 30, 2013, 9:57 am

Robert Ziegler has taught literature and language at Montana Tech (in the world weary cosmopolis of Butte) since 1974. He has published numerous articles and several books on the French decadents, supernatural horror, the occult, etc. This cursory sketch of Ziegler's work does him little justice - but I wanted to bring him to your attention. I just happened across his name myself a few days ago and have since set out to acquire and read his intriguing (and unfortunately elusive, and costly) catalog. This includes studies of Huysmans, Mirbeau, and the phenomenon of satanism and the occult in decadent fiction (all theory-lite). I suspect these books will be a treasure house to any with an interest in fin-de-siecle France. I'll write more when I have read more. Happy hunting!

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 30, 2013, 9:55 am

Here is a link to an interview with Ziegler (yes, he does look as though he emerged from a Rops sketch - or James's Mezzotint):

toukokuu 1, 2013, 5:38 pm

Speaking of French decadents, where does Jean Genet fit into the mix? I'm currently reading Our Lady of the Flowers for my essay series on literary erotica. One of my favorite books of all time, along with Maldoror and Against Nature

toukokuu 2, 2013, 10:06 am

It's been awhile since I've read Genet and I've read only Les bonnes and Funeral Rites (skimmed A Thief's Journal). His lyrical association of various "à rebours" events and actions with sacred rites and Catholic imagery certainly brings those two books to mind.

toukokuu 2, 2013, 11:14 am

Thanks for the heads up. He looks suitably decadent. portrait of Des Essientes, perhaps? And his work looks really interesting too.

toukokuu 2, 2013, 11:26 am

The only reviews I have seen offer faint admiration and jabs at his thoroughness and/or accuracy. To be fair as I can be at this point - not having had the opportunity to read him yet - these jabs come from colleagues whose works he has neglected to cite and a Peladan enthusiast who challenges his command of the facts regarding various occult societies and practices. His titles (Beauty Raises the Dead, etc.) give me hope he has the flair and erudition of the late Norman O. Brown.

toukokuu 2, 2013, 5:53 pm

Genet reminds of Victor Hugo, a relic and a hold-over of a different age. In the case of Hugo it is Romanticism, with Genet it is Decadence.

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 31, 2013, 3:50 pm

The Peladan enthusiast mentioned by @benwaugh is actually an academic and translator by the name Sasha Chaitow who is without a doubt the foremost expert on Peladan and his Rose Cross Salons. She is undertaking a series of translations of his work and I'd recommend anyone with any interest in the Decadence, Symbolist art, or Huysmans to take a good look at Peladan.

I think there are valid conderns regarding the authors omissions and misunderstandings regarding the connectivity between many of the Symbolist artists and Peladan's organizations. the Taxil hoax, and the difference between a Satanist and a Luciferian. I think there are some reasonable expectation that an author writing about Parisian Satanism would understand the difference between a Luciferian, Satanist, and a Palladist (Even Umberto Eco manages a clever joke on this distinction in Foucalt's Pendulum). These add up to a few grave errors which erodes my confidence in the book.

Sasha's review

That said, its still on my "to buy as a used book" list :) And holy crap, that photo! Love it!

tammikuu 16, 2019, 11:59 am

For those interested in Ziegler's collected œuvre (despite Dr. Chaitow's scathing critique of his research diligence/accuracy): new hardcover copies of Octave Mirbeau's Fictions of the Transcendental, companion to The Nothing Machine, are available on Amazon for $5.69, fantastic considering most of his other published books are "student" priced pbks over $40 each.

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