Octave Mirbeau

© Public Domain

(1848 - 1917)

Octave Mirbeau was a radical journalist who is best known today for his decadent classic, Torture Garden and his satire of Parisian society in the wake of the Dreyfus affair, The Diary of a Chambermaid. His first novel Le Calvaire was a succes de scandale followed a year later by Abbe Jules. Together with Sebastien Roch these novels form a very powerful indictment of French society as seen from an anarchist's perspective and are Mirbeau's revenge on society for his upbringing.

© Mikhail Iliatov, 2015

Les Vingt et un Jours d'un neurasthénique

Charpentier-Fasquelle, 1901

Feeling that he's being driven mad by modern life, Georges Vasseur heads off for a rest cure. At a spa town, however, he encounters precisely those things he's been trying to escape: corrupt politicians, amnesiac coquettes, cheerfully sadistic killers, imperialist generals, and quack psychiatrists. Hypocrites are eternal, and not much has changed since Mirbeau wrote this acid portrait of his era.

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