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About the Author
The secret influence on generations of writers, from Guillaume Apollinaire and Jorge Luis Borges to Roberto Bolaño and J. Rodolfo Wilcock, Marcel Schwob (1867-1905) was as versed in the street slang of medieval thieves as he was in the poetry of Whitman (whom he translated into French). Paul Valéry and Alfred Jarry both dedicated their first books to him, and in doing so paid tribute to the man who could evoke both the intellect of Leonardo da Vinci and the anarchy of Ubu Roi.
Schwob disbelieved in originality--everything had been said, had been done--but he trusted in the creative spirit. His stories both draw on historical sources and forfeit narrative by instead acknowledging that thieves, pirates, street urchins and prisoners are equally cursed to be human, and to be human is to indulge in casual cruelty. This confluence is unexpected, even jarring. Indeed, the mystery and inexplicability of the stories often result in something profoundly moving.--Tristan Foster "Music & Literature"