YesterWeird: Recommendations?

Do you have a favorite old, weird book?

Recommend it and I’ll probably read it!

But, I’m also looking for books to give the YesterWeird treatment to, like I’m doing with Matthew Lewis’s The Monk.

Old = written before 1930.
Weird = I leave up to you.

My definition of weird includes Fantomas novels, Cavendish’s The Blazing World, Scientific Romances, Dumas and his contemporaries, Gothic and Sensation novels, Apuleius, and P’u Songling… so it’s pretty broad, but limited. I’m not likely to do another Gothic right away. While I do have some Ann Radcliffe on the shelf, I’m not really ready to jump into another foray of English Protestants fetishisiizing southern European Roman Catholics.

Current contenders for getting the YesterWeird treatment are:

Fantomas, the Corpse Who Kills! by Marcel Allain and Pierre Souvestre. Murder, mayhem, and derangement.

The Flower Beneath The Foot – Being a Record of the Early Life of St. Laura De Nazianzi and the Times in which She Lived by Ronald Firbank. This looks like it might be Game of Thrones as if written by Oscar Wilde in his Importance of Being Earnest style. That sounds like it might be cool, or it might be annoying.

Aphrodite: Ancient Morals by Pierre Louys. A scandalous, historical novel written by a French guy mostly famous for his pornographic poetry. It’s available on Gutenberg.

If you have a favorite, I’d love to hear it.


14 responses to “YesterWeird: Recommendations?”

  1. mikemonaco says :

    If it doesn’t have to be fiction, Sabine Gould-Baring’s books are usually full of weirdness. The Werewolf book in particular was fun. In a similar vein, A dictionary of miracles by Rev. Brewer is fascinating. Excerpts from a ton of hagiographies etc.

    For old fiction, Grettrs Saga is pretty odd. Haggard’s “Eric Brighteyes,” a pseudo-saga, is pretty weird too.

    • Justin says :

      I’ve read SGB’s “Curious Myths of the Middle Ages” and that might be a fun one to do. Grettr’s Saga is a great idea! Thanks for the suggestion!

  2. mikemonaco says :

    If you can read French, Grandville’s Un Autre World looks pretty messed up too. I will see if there is an English translation available, because I have not read it yet either. I just heard about it second hand through another book I’m perusing (they got the name wrong and gave the title in English!). But it was described as the work of a sort of 19th century Bosch who is satirizing technological innovation and optimism. Oddly my source did not mention that Grandville was a cartoonist too, but google it and there are some pretty funky ilustrations.

  3. Gord Sellar says :

    I’m so very late for the party, but then, I only recently stumbled onto this late-17th century semi-autobiographical (“Transreal,” to use Rudy Rucker’s term) weird German novel I’d never heard about before:

    I haven’t read much of it yet (since I didn’t know about it till last week or so), but it’s lined up on the Kindle for when I have cleared a few other things out of the way.

    The last line of the synopsis on Wikipedia was just too irresistible:


    Also, Marie de France’s “Bisclavret” is a hoot, if you haven’t read it. I got a huge kick out of that one poem. (The rest was interesting, but less weird overall, but Bisclavret has a werewolf, hanky panky, and proto-Lamarckianism. Then again, everyone was propto-Lamarckian in the middle ages, I suppose.)

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