This volume is one of a set of three collections assembling a substantial fraction of the short fantastic fiction of Catulle Mendès (1841-1909). It assembles more than eighty contes, fables and apologues employing supernatural motifs
The light-hearted flippancy of the majority of the stories collected here has its own heroic dimension in blithely sacrificing the copious resource of narrative energy to be found in the Devil’s works in order to focus much more extensively on the kindly ministrations of angels, Eros and other benign figures. It is a testament of Mendès’ ingenuity that the sacrifice in question was not a costly one, permitting him to maintain a level of productivity that few writers of his era could match.
Whimsy might look easy to a reader, but it is not nearly as easy for an author. Few writers have ever been able to draw from that particular well as prolifically and consistently as Catulle Mendès, and there are only a precious few whose work could be assembled into a kaleidoscopic display of phantasmagorical materials as rich as this one.