CLARIMONDE by Théophile Gautier
Translated by Lafcadio Hearn
“Poor country priest though I was, I led every night in a dream — would to God it had been all a dream! —“
Sardanapalus by Somnambulus, this seems today to have become the purest covivid dream, here engendered by the literally figurative lockdown of a Priest’s calling, entered into by a vow of a few seconds. A most powerful and carnally expressive work, even more powerful than I remember it, about his temptation by the ultimate seductress, one who borders on the edge of coquetry by death. If one airbrushes the overdone vampiredom aspect of this story, it would become even more a classic to die for!
It is also a battle that seems to be one that Aickman truly feels within himself, judging by my instinct about him… as he himself faces his own Clarimonde, this beseeching, beckoning “fair one” – “and I felt my bosom transfixed by more swords than those of Our Lady of Sorrows.”
And in tune with the two preceding Aickman Fontana volumes I have real-time reviewed so far, it contains this sentence — “From that night my nature seemed in some sort to have become halved, and there were two men within me, neither of whom knew the other.”
Full context here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2021/05/12/27614/#comment-21719