Les Portes de L'Enfer

Les Portes de L'Enfer☄ Les Portes de L'Enfer PDF / Epub ✓ Author Maurice Level – Jobs-in-kingston.co.uk Extrait Devant moi je voyais les rails luire sous le reflet de la lune Nous filions Nous filions Ah je la retrouvais cette sensation de vitesse ue l'habitude vous fait oublier Le train passa comme un Extrait Devant moi je voyais les rails luire sous le reflet de la lune Nous filions Nous filions Ah je la retrouvais cette sensation de vitesse ue l'habitude vous fait oublier Le train passa comme un eclair dans une petite gare Les Portes PDF/EPUB ² Si vertigineuse ue fut sa course j'eus cependant le temps de distinguer dans un bureau sur le uai un employe ui sommeillait pres de l'appareil telegraphiue Une ou deux trepidations sur la plaue tournante; le clauement des disues; la voie rayee par les rails entrecroises soudain plus large puis plus retrecie la tranchee profonde et de nouveau la course dans la nuit Apres ce fut le tunnel ou nous nous engoufframes dans un galop d'ouragan Encore une fois la route libre Maintenant car je savais ou nous etions je songeais Cette fois nous deraillons Dans deux minutes nous arrivons a une courbe si accentuee u'a l'allure ou je roule nos roues vont chasser hors du rail Le bon Dieu sans doute ne voulait pas ue ce fut la encore La machine tout le train pencha les rails grincerent sous les roues affolees et nous passames Cette rampe avait ete ma grande terreur Je respirai Les feux n'etant plus alimentes allaient s'eteindre La machine s'arreterait Le garde freins accourrait en tete du train Je lui dirais ce ui avait eu lieu Il poserait des petards a l'avant et a l'arriere Nous etions sauves Mais mon calme ne dura pas longtemps Nous venions de bruler une gare uand je vis une chose ui fit se dresser mes cheveux le disue etait ferme La voie sur lauelle je m'engageais n'etait pas libre Des cet instant comment je ne suis pas devenu fou je ne sais pas Imaginez ce ui peut se passer dans le cerveau d'un homme ui lance sur une locomotive a plus de cent a l'heure est averti u'un obstacle lui barre la route Rien n'existait plus en moi ue cette pensee Si tu n'arretes pas tu vas aller t'ecraser. Detail from The Gates of Hell by the great French sculptor Auguste Rodin Maurice Level and Auguste Rodin were contemporaries Jessica Seueira thinks there is a good chance Level's collection is linked directly to the sculptor's work The Gates of Hell Twenty six tales of the macabre from French author Maurice Level 1875 1926 short tales each one six or seven or eight pages in length adapted and translated into clear accessible English by Jessica Seueira Also included in this Black Coat Press edition is an informative introductory essay by Ms Seueira providing the cultural and literary context for Level's writing Similar to French fin de siècle decadent literature the setting for these stories is usually Paris and freuently presents men and women in the grip of extreme psychic states such as agony terror dread fear or panic Level writes his stories with a particular economy and flair – in keeping within the French contre cruel tradition the unfolding drama is based on human behavior and the mind rather than the supernatural and there is always a distinctive pop or twist at the end No wonder Maurice Level has often been compared to Guy de Maupassant and Edgar Allen Poe With all this in mind I wouldn’t want to spoil a reader’s experience by saying too much about too many tales; however as a way of providing a taste of the unmistakable power of Level's writing and how these tales raise many philosophical and psychological uestions I offer the following detailed reflections on two of my personal favorites from the collectionFASCINATIONReleased after three months in prison a jury having acuitted him of a woman's murder the narrator sits alone in a hotel room writing down his reflections on the truth how he in fact pointed his revolver and with full intention murdered his victim Why? The judge and jury could not detect any real motive thus clearing him of the crime But that’s just the point For a man such as himself as he tells us there will never be any clear cut motiveFor Fascination is a study of the murky hidden depths of the mind Reading the narrator’s confession we see how we can be taken over by a force beyond our control a force described in Norse mythology as the giant the destructive shadow side of our personality Or alternately how we can create chaos while remaining calm cool and collected for no other reason than to prove to the universe we don’t give a fig for its so called harmony What? Is this sheer madness? As Jessica Seueira notes in her introduction “It is significant that although these pieces were performed onstage at the Grand Guignol they began as stories for the psychological detail they accrue surpasses what can be acted out in physical gestures This is the tragedy of the theater even the most complex psychological subtleties must be depicted through movement of the body props and sets In the tales of Level a sensitive writer who also knew how to entertain his rowdy audiences this tension between theatrical outer events and inner understanding proved to be fertile territory for it drew on the real philosophical source of terror the possibility of meaninglessness”I can just imagine the theater set a bare stage with the actor sitting in a chair with a revolver on a side table relating via monologue the reasons he murdered and what he might do now with the revolver Actually better than theater his inner states are revealed in the tale as when we read these lines from the first page I’d known the terrified sleep full of nightmares of the guillotine With terror I’d passed sweating hands over my cold neck guessing the narrow path the blade would trace there I’d shuddered at the hostile murmurs of the crowd In my ears I’d heard the shout “To death” And what does our brooding narrator do at the end with the revolver? You will have to read for yourselfA MANIACThis tale opens “He was neither wicked nor bloodthirsty He simply had a very special understanding of the pleasures of existence Perhaps it was that having practiced them all he no longer found anything unexpected” We read along as the tale fleshes out what is meant by “a very special understanding of the pleasures of existence” The unnamed main character attends the theater not to watch the play but in the hope a fire will break out; visits a fair in the hope beasts will attack their trainer; attends bullfights but is disappointed since the violence is too predictable What he is after is the unexpected thrill But when he experiences exactly what he is after in the aftermath of these unexpected thrills he becomes depressed thinking there is no reason to continue livingLet’s pause here to ask does this nineteenth century thrill seeker anticipate an entire culture of thrill seekers people putting themselves or watching other people put themselves at risk on the edge for the sheer thrill of it? German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer judged our human life as an alternating between frustration and boredom Is this seeking of thrills a radical attempt to transcend frustration and boredom? If so this is hardly a flattering commentary on our natural capacity for joy and harmonious livingThe tale continues Our thrill seeker sees a poster displaying a daredevil event We read “The man needed to hurtle down the narrow track at full speed climb the loop and descend again During this fantastic feat for a second the acrobat would find himself with his head down and feet in the air” Inspired our thrill seeker buys an entire box of seats at the end of the track so he can watch the daredevil cyclist night after night without distraction But then one night after the performance the cyclist approaches him and in the course of conversation explains how he can accomplish his extraordinary feat by focusing on a fixed point the fixed point being the man sitting by himself in a box at the end of the track The next night monsieur thrill seeker takes his usual seat The cyclist pushes off heading for his death defying loop We read “But at the same time with the most natural movement in the world the maniac stood up and sat on the other side of his box A gruesome thing then happened The acrobat gave a violent jump His bike which shot forward gave a tremendous lurch leaped off the track and crashed to the ground in the midst of terrified shrieks With a businesslike gesture the maniac put on his overcoat smoothed his hat with the back of his sleeve and made his exit”Like the cyclist’s daredevil full circle death defying stunt the end of the tale brings readers full circle to the tale’s opening line where the main character is described as “neither wicked nor bloodthirsty” Really? How would we characterize someone who would intentionally act in a way causing the death of others merely to have a thrill? Wicked? Cruel? Malicious? Bloodthirsty? Any of these words seem to fit So we may ask does the tale’s narrator shares in the same madness as the man he is describing; or to put it another way is this tale telling the product of a diseased mind yet again another sick flower of decadent nineteenth century Baudelarean evil?Max Nordau a leading cultural and literary critic at the time wrote an essay in 1894 where he used the term “decadent” and judged many French writers and artists and a large sector of the French population as having diseased minds that is minds that are confused discouraged and despairing Perhaps on some level Maurice Level would agree with the confused discouraged and despairing part since his stories are filled with such people Fortunately reading his finely crafted tales is just the opposite experience sheer enjoyment like popping a box of expensive French chocolates in your mouth one by one Their brains went empty with fear as they knew that every tick tock was a note that drew a drop of their blood Then losing their heads with that remnant of instinct that makes the condemn cling for existence to the foot of the scaffold they’d wanted to take advantage of what time remained to them to live from The Clock one of riveting tales in this Maurice Level collection The twenty six tales of The Gates of Hell are not the supernatural horror I had come to expect from British and American short stories of this same period Translator Jessica Seueira's introduction discusses the French tradition of dark realism which relies instead on irony and psychology to depict events that could conceivably happen In The Debt Collector for example a humble accountant who finally gives in to temptation finds his carefully constructed plan thwarted when he forgets the alias he had used years earlier Several other pieces center on the homeless and the Kafkaesue web of social prejudices surrounding them On the Road tells of a beggar who finds a gold coin but due to his ragged appearance and ecstatic manner is believed to be a crazed thief and is unable to spend it I had initially found Level's portrayal of deranged mental states reminiscent of Poe particularly in Fascination which reminded me of The Tell Tale Heart with its unstable narrator driven to murder by his beloved's grating voice Yet while the influence is obvious he generally avoids most of Poe's overheated hysteria and explicitly macabre prose Level felt tightly crafted

Les Portes de L'Enfer Epub ì Les Portes  PDF/EPUB ²
  • Paperback
  • 46 pages
  • Les Portes de L'Enfer
  • Maurice Level
  • French
  • 09 November 2016
  • 9781153742351