and Meaning, Fantomas
and the imprecision of melodrama.
- The Crook and Con Artist.
1. Jack Levine's paintings.
2. Seurat and the Ringmaster.
3. Autolycus and The Winter's Tale.
4. The Disguised Narrator and the Super Villain. (Dr.Tube, Dr.Mabuse,
with movement, mystery and excitement" testimonial in Country Life
undated) and printed on the wrappers of the Fantomas novels by Pierre
Souvestre and Marcel Allain. My English copies published by Stanley Paul
and Co., London, translated by A.R.Allinson.
Fantomas ; international super criminal
Inspector Juve of La Surete
Lady Beltham, English aristocrat, mistress of Fantomas
Jerome Fandor, French journalist, friend and confidant of Juve.
COLLECTION OF INDIVIDUAL TITLES ACQUIRED FROM MADAME MOUILLÉE
, 1st UK edition, 1915 (1st edition, 1911)
2. The Exploits of Juve , 2nd edition, 1917
3. Messengers of Evil , 1st edition, 1917
4. A Nest of Spies ,1917
5. A Royal Prisoner of Fantomas
6. Slippery as Sin
7. A Limb of Satan, or The Long Arm of Fantomas
by Marcel Allain (alone) . Published by Stanley Paul and Co., London,
translated by A.R.Allinson.
8. The Yellow Document, or Fantomas of Berlin ,1st
9. A Lord of Terror , 1st edition, 1925
10. Juve in the Dock , 1st edition, 1925
11. Fantomas Captured, 1st edition, 1926
12. The Revenge of Fantomas , 1st edition, 1927
13. Bulldogs and Rats , 1st edition, 1928
subsequent titles, The Severed Hand, The Gold Stealer. La Fille
de Fantomas, Aux mains de Fantomas.
THE EVIL LORD OF TERROR
"What is Fantomas ! A multiple being composed of divers personalities
- a being without a precise character ! Who can prove to us that the Fantomas
of yesterday will be the same as the Fantomas of tomorrow ? And that the
Fantomas of today is not another Fantomas ? These are mysteries which
make precise knowledge impossible."
"Yes Fantomas is a marvellous actor, and excels in assuming the form
of a variety of people, and this extraordinary faculty he has turned to
account in many circumstances. But there is one thing Fantomas does not
know how to alter, and by which I shall always recognise him, and that
is his look, his eyes !" "This Fantomas was a Fantomas she had
never before set her eyes on. It was the Fantomas of the legend now become
for her the Fantomas of reality. This mysterious being was enveloped in
a big black cloak, a black slouch hat half covered a black hooded mask
which his his features. " from Slippery as Sin.
"The thirty two novels which comprise the written series were actually
composed by two authors, Pierre Souvestre and Marcel Allain, at the rate
of one volume per month when they were interrupted by the First World
War and the death of Souvestre. The novels had been a joint enterprise
until then, with each author writing alternate chapters. There was a secret
code which indicated who had done the writing: Souvestre's chapters carry
the word neanmoins on the first page, and Allain's the word toutefois.
(Both mean nevertheless)." Gablik beneath.
Magritte has written of Fantomas."He is never entirely invisible.
One can see his portrait through his face... When memories pursue him
he follows his ar, which drags him away. His movements are those of an
automaton; he brushed aside any furniture or walls that are in his way....
Fantomas' science is more valuable than his language. We do not guess,
and we cannot doubt, his powers." Magritte also read the Nat Pinkerton
and Nick Carter weeklies. In the cinema he followed Lang's thrillers ie
Magritte's description of Juve on the trail of Fantomas." ...He crawls
along the broken cobblestones of a mysterious passage. To guide himself
he gropes along the walls with his fingers. Suddenly a whiff of hot air
hits him in the face. He comes nearer... His eyes adjust to the darkness.
Juve distinguishes a door with loose boards a few feet in front of him.
He undoes his overcoat in order to wrap it round his left arm, and gets
his revolver ready. As soon as he has cleared the door, Juve realises
that his precautions were unnecessary: Fantomas is close by, sleeping
deeply. In a matter of seconds Juve has tied up the sleeper. Fantomas
continues to dream - of his disguises, perhaps, as usual Juve in the highest
of spirits pronounces some regrettable words. They cause the prisoner
to start. He wakes up, and once awake, Fantomas is no longer Juve's captive.
Juve has failed again this time. One means remains for him to achieve
his end: Juve will have to get into one of Fantomas' dreams - he will
try to take part as one of its characters." Gablik, p.48. Published
in Distances , March 1928.
Magritte's works on a Fantomas theme
• L"Homme du large, 1927, oil 55" x
• The Threatened Assassin, 1926/7 59" x
• The Backfire, 1943
• The Savage c1928 a still from Louis Feuillade's
COMPARATIVE PHENOMENA - Maldoror, from Lautreamont, Les Chants
de Maldoror , "Today he is in Madrid, tomorrow he will
be in St.Petersburg; yesterday he was in Peking.... This bandit is perhaps
seven hundred leagues away from this country; perhaps he is a few steps
away from you..."
Gris, Fantomas - Pipe and newspaper [Still Life]1915
; Oil on canvas, 59.8 x 73.3 cm; National Gallery of Art, Washington,
D.C. (DC 146)
Fantomas intro. by John Ashbery Picador London 1987
misc. Europe nos 590/1 June July 1978
• exhib.catal Dada and Surrealism Reviewed
ACGB 1978 p.344,5;
• Suzie Gablik Magritte, Thames & Hudson,
• Sarah Whitfield, Magritte , exhib.catal.,The
South Bank Centre, 1992.
THE OFFICIAL FANTOMAS WEBSITE
VERY READABLE ARTICLE BY TOSH BERMAN
E.H.LARSON ACCOUNT NW LINKS PAGES - recommended