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Torture Garden de Octave Mirbeau
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Torture Garden (1899 original; edició 1955)

de Octave Mirbeau (Autor)

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Originally published in 1899, this early work by Octave Mirbeau is both expensive and hard to find in its first edition. It contains several sections in different styles dealing with subjects as diverse as French politics and sadism. This is a fascinating work and thoroughly recommended for anyone interested in the decadent fiction of nineteenth century France. Many of the earliest books, particularly those dating back to the 1900s and before, are now extremely scarce. We are republishing these classic works in affordable, high quality, modern editions, using the original text and artwork.… (més)
Títol:Torture Garden
Autors:Octave Mirbeau (Autor)
Informació:Berkley (111) (1955), Edition: New Ed, 175 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Etiquetes:No n'hi ha cap

Detalls de l'obra

The Torture Garden de Octave Mirbeau (Author) (1899)

Afegit fa poc perMichaelSamadhi, biblioteca privada, thestorymr, tomhashimoto, jenkinbun, Covaby, AbeStew, LHorton11, skroah
Biblioteques llegadesDanilo Kiš
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Monsters, monsters! But there are no monsters! What you call monsters are superior forms, or forms beyond your understanding. Aren't the gods monsters? Isn't a man of genius a monster, like a tiger or a spider, like all individuals who live beyond social lies, in the dazzling and divine immortality of things? Why, I too then, am a monster.

Curious about The Torture Garden? You may need a tall absinthe and a dearth of holiday cheer for a proper appreciation. That is not entirely accurate. Unlike the thrust of the decadent lettres, there isn't a default pose of ennui on display.

Passion pulses here. The manifestations of such are irregular, to say the least.
Such desire is maintained, and the novel remains, well, beautiful. The lush descriptions of the garden itself are exaustive and totalizing: a horticultural Eden despite the deaths of a thousand cuts and the carrion being offered to the deliriously starved.

I was impressed by the tone, which isn't sensational, but grounded and appreciative. ( )
  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
In this review I mainly want to recommend Michael Richardson's translation over Alvah Bessie's. Bessie's (the translation used in the Re-Search and the Citadel editions) is not only dated, but scoured.

Torture Garden is an ornately arranged collection of horrors. It is a satire - a Mundane Comedy (a black one, that begins and ends in Purgatory.) - cruel and beautiful as a flower, to paraphrase the garden's poet-torturer. Mirbeau seems to sneer at his reader, presumably the over-cultivated, over-sated, over-educated flower of modern society: True decadence, real perversity, culminates in you, dear readers - the produce of a civilized society, which is essentially a criminal and contrived garden of forms (religion, art, law, philosophy, etc.), seeded and nourished in a bed of rapine and slaughter, where attar is a distillate of gore. The history, character, and late-blooming fine feelings of the narrator, incidentally, are very much to the point.

Mirbeau has never been very popular. He doesn't have very nice things to say. Nice people, just societies, serve a higher purpose. They do not exist simply to mate and die. Nor do they torture - much less make an art of it (no, they have "theme parks" instead). Maiming and killing are unlawful, strictly apportioned to the office of the state - and then applied only as an exigency of official business or, rather, of national security.

In brief, all good and gentle people have arrived at smug enlightenment on a trail of corpses, and that enlightenment itself has its occult roots in crime. More than this, in a world where the interests of corporations and governments are basically one and the same, and entertainment is a multibillion dollar industry, Mirbeau still has something useful and nasty to tell us. ( )
7 vota PhilOPosia | Jun 24, 2013 |
‘Here and there in the indentations of the palisade, appearing like halls of verdure and flower-beds, were wooden benches equipped with chains and bronze necklaces, iron tables shaped like crosses, blocks and racks, gibbets, automatic quartering machines, beds laden with cutting blades, bristling with steel points, fixed chokers, props and wheels, boilers and basins above extinguished hearth, all the implements of sacrifice and torture covered in blood—in some places dried and darkish, in others sticky and red. Puddles of blood filled the hollows in the ground and long tears of congealed blood hung from the dismantled mechanisms. Around these machines the ground had absorbed the blood. But blood still stained the whiteness of the jasmines and flecked the coral-pink of the honeysuckles and the mauve of the passion flowers. And small fragments of human flesh, caught by whips and leather lashes, had flown here and there on to the tops of petals and leaves. Noticing that I was feeling faint and that I flinched at these puddles whose stain had enlarged and reached the middle of the avenue, Clara, in a gentle voice, encouraged me: “That’s nothing yet, darling… Let’s go on!”’

Octave Mirbeau’s Torture Garden is the most hideously brutal, debauched, splenetic, and disturbing piece of fiction I have ever encountered. It reads, on one level, as a catalog of the most odious, shamelessly rococo sadism known to imagination; but Mirbeau's vision is broader than that: ultimately, the novel is an allegory of political and moral corruption: a seething and merciless satire of the hypocrisies that blight the human race from beneath the sheep’s-clothing called ‘civilization.’ Wilde described it as ‘revolting’ and as ‘a sort of grey adder;’ his assessment is fitting: Torture Garden is an appallingly perverse, venomous, and decimating novel.

Written at the height of the Dreyfus Affair, Mirbeau’s scathing attack on the sanctimonious sophism of the governing elite is, at times, overpoweringly mephitic: it smells of pus and rotten meat and old urine; it tastes of bile and gall and shit. But intermingled with this miasma of death and miserable suffering, there is the insistent perfume of the countless flowers that Mirbeau has painted in luxuriant, almost indulgent, detail: and this is no paradox: because amid the corruption of life, amid the charnel-house and the devouring flies, there is a kind of haunted beauty that is fertilized by this horror and this filth: the blossoms of the Torture Garden are fed by the same flesh and blood that is flayed, molested, and slaughtered within it; the inescapable fact is that this beauty could not thrive without the repugnance that both envelops and is enveloped by it.

The plot details the exploits of a French debauchee who, after meandering through the vapid hypocrisies of political life in fin de siècle Paris, chances to meet a beautiful, recondite Englishwoman, Clara, at sea; deeply attracted to the veil of innocence that cloaks what he perceives to be a curiously ‘well-educated’ immorality, our narrator sets up house with her in her adopted homeland of China. It is only upon their visit to the Torture Garden, however, that our narrator comes to comprehend the sheer depths of Clara’s iniquity: of her lust, filth, and ultimate evil.

This is an incredibly challenging book; and while it has become a near-cliché to caution ‘the faint of heart,’ it is important to warn prospective readers of Torture Garden that, while nearly one-hundred-and-fifteen-years-old, Mirbeau’s masterpiece remains one of the more luridly depraved novels ever published. I’ve read Sade, Mandiargues, and others of their proclivity: Torture Garden, much more than rakish pornography, reduces their prurience to curiosity. But Mirbeau's novel exists in three dimensions: in Torture Garden we glimpse the malice that flickers within the heart of real evil, as page after page eviscerates the miserable flowers of bureaucracy, social imperialism, xenophobia, and moral hypocrisy while exposing their contemporary roots in the manners and mores of European ideas of 'civilization,' effectively contrasting them against a highly orientalized, 'barbarous' East that is ultimately more a mirror of the West than a foil. Some of the more disturbing episodes in the novel do not play out in the Torture Garden at all: the conversation between a British officer and a French explorer about the disposability of human beings—of Dum-Dum bullets and ‘civilized’ cannibalism, of the imminent goal of entirely eliminating both the physical and intangible existence of an abstract ‘enemy’—remain as strikingly and singularly appalling as any gruesomely reprobate episode detailed from within the Torture Garden itself: and this despite the obvious satire (or perhaps even because of it) with which the scene is suffused. These pages drip with blood, yes—but also with cyanide.

I have discovered that Torture Garden’s ability to shock, stupefy, and disgust loses little upon rereading, even as its message becomes more apparent. It remains unavoidably relevant; and while it may turn our stomachs and challenge our patience for debauchery, the compelling employment of revulsion is a major component of Torture Garden's success as an allegory, underlining repeatedly its express purpose: to awaken us to the moral dilemmas often left unexamined within a 'governed' existence, lest we should forget or—far worse—choose to ignore the half-buried incongruities used to measure deception and truth, murder and inevitability. It is not with mere irony, after all, that Mirbeau prefaced his novel thusly: ‘To the priests, the soldiers, the judges: to those people who educate, instruct and govern men: I dedicate these pages of Murder and Blood.’

With its airy exoticism and heartless cruelty, its juxtaposition of indescribably violent torture and indescribably beautiful flowers, its excoriating anger and its electrifying sensuality, Torture Garden is not merely a classic of the Decadence, but a classic of the human soul. These grotesque and poisonous pages have etched themselves, for both better and worse, indelibly upon my brain: and for the bravest of readers, they will open onto vistas of incomparable truth: for beyond the Torture Garden lies a beauty that cannot be grasped without first glimpsing the barbarity with which it is inextricably bound. ( )
5 vota veilofisis | May 21, 2013 |
Torture and erotica taken to a high in both English, then French ( )
  Georges_T._Dodds | Mar 29, 2013 |
Ce roman nous plonge dans la Chine de la fin du XIXe siècle, une Chine où les Européens se plaisent à frémir d'horreur devant la barbarie ancestrale d'un peuple raffiné et cruel. On retrouve bien sûr dans cette œuvre beaucoup de clichés de l'époque. Sur le paquebot qui le conduit en Asie, le narrateur rencontre et s'éprend de la troublante Clara, une riche héritière britannique. Cette femme superbe et perverse lui fait visiter Le Jardin des Supplices, un lieu où le raffinement chinois sert la botanique comme l'art de la torture. Les Chinois savent infliger la mort en esthètes, en artistes. Les mots savants et précieux qui décrivent le Jardin contrastent avec les horreurs de la mort infligée aux condamnés. Cet oxymore se retrouve déjà dans le titre du roman et marque l'ensemble de l'œuvre. On retrouve la sophistication orientale, la parfaite maîtrise du réel : maîtrise de la nature domestiquée (le jardin) ; maîtrise de la souffrance infligée (les supplices, la torture). Certaines descriptions sont insoutenables (les charognes sur le pont, la condition carcérale, le supplice du rat, le supplice de la cloche…). On se croit plongé dans le Jardin des Délices de Bosch ou dans le rétable d'Issenheim de Grünewald. On reproche souvent à Mirbeau d'être misogyne. Il est vrai que le personnage de Clara est hystérique, cyclothymique… Clara cherche la volupté dans le mal, la contemplation de la souffrance. On retrouve en l'occurrence la figure de la femme perverse, à la fois libidineuse et cruelle, un peu sorcière… cette image héritée de la tradition judéo-chrétienne. ( )
  vdb | Sep 17, 2010 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Mirbeau, OctaveAutorautor primaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Adams, Bobby NeelFotògrafautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Beek, PieterTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Bessie, Alvah C.Traductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Bessie, Alvah CecilTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Huneker, JamesPròlegautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Richardson, MichaelTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Ros, MartinTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat

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No n'hi ha cap

Originally published in 1899, this early work by Octave Mirbeau is both expensive and hard to find in its first edition. It contains several sections in different styles dealing with subjects as diverse as French politics and sadism. This is a fascinating work and thoroughly recommended for anyone interested in the decadent fiction of nineteenth century France. Many of the earliest books, particularly those dating back to the 1900s and before, are now extremely scarce. We are republishing these classic works in affordable, high quality, modern editions, using the original text and artwork.

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