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Exemplary Departures consists of five exquisitely wrought novellas depicting five "exemplary" deaths in various exotic locations around the globe: a gentleman spy disappears with his secrets into the Malaysian jungle; a young woman agonizes atop a ruined castle overlooking the Rhine; a writer succumbs to alcoholism in the streets of Baltimore; a salesman expires as a vagabond in the sewers of New York; and hermaphroditic twins are assassinated in a stagecoach. Drawing from the remnants of real-life anecdotesfrom Edgar Allan Poe's final days to the agonizing tale of Idilia Dubbthese stories are imagined descents into death's supreme indifference. A true modern inheritor of the legacy of the French Decadent writers, Wittkop spins these tales with her trademark macabre elegance and chilling humor, maneuvering in an uncertain space between dark Romanticism, Gothic Expressionism and Sadean cruelty. "Death is life's most important moment," Wittkop claimed; Exemplary Departures offers five particularly important moments for the English reader's delectation. First published as a set of three novellas in 1995, this translation is of the 2012 edition of five novellas, which include the previously unpublished "Mr. T.'s Last Secret" and "Claude and Hippolyte."