Arsène Lupin

Mills and Boon Arsène Lupin

Mills & Boon

Maurice Leblanc, 813, Translated by Alexander Teixeira de Mattos, London, Mills and Boon,  1910

First published in France in 1909, the classic Arsène Lupin novel 813 was translated in England the following year by the then new publishing house, now famous for sentimental novels.  This might come as  a surprise but seems at the same time revealing. One of the secrets of Lupin’s attraction was his ability to cross generic boundaries. This Belle Époque Gentleman was not to be confined to the (then not yet theoretically defined, or even clearly marketed by publishers) crime genre. His charm appealed to both male and female readers, ensuring his widespread success. It is thus fitting that this French cousin of Hornung’s Raffles seduced the British market under the cover of a young publisher (Mills &Boon was founded in 1908) whose name would become a byword for stories of Latin lovers.

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Crime Fiction in Greece

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Giannis Maris,  Crime In Kolonaki,  Pechlivanidis, 1955

 

By Nikos Filippaios (PhD candidate, University of Ioannina, Greece)

Crime fiction in Greece is characterized, on the one hand, by the strong influence of American and European classics and standards, and on the other by a constant search for a more localized expression. This initial reception of a new literary genre and its final assimilation is an idiosyncratic characteristic of Modern Greek culture, which was shaped by accepting both eastern and western influences. Thus, when crime fiction was introduced as a new genre to Greece, during the first decades of the 20th century, readers were already familiar with its main elements, because one of its precursors, the “roman feuilleton” (or serial) was very popular in Greece during the 19th century, as in other European countries. Continue reading

Arsène Lupin Versus Holmlock Shears

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Arsène Lupin Versus Holmlock Shears (Translation :  Alexander Teixeira De Mattos), LondonGrant Richards Ltd., 1910 (fac simile)

Arsène Lupin was conceived as an anti-Sherlock Holmes. Both characters rely on their intellect, but, in Leblanc’s stories the gentleman -burglar trumps the maverick detective. Leblanc’s Holmes (or rather, Sholmes)  is both an homage to Doyle’s character and a deliberate parody. This is evident in one of the first Lupin short stories, ironically titled “Herlock Sholmes arrives too late”. This parodic intention is reflected in both the American and the English titles of two collections of short stories : Arsène Lupin versus Herlock Sholmes,  in the 1910 American translation by George Morehead), and in the  above  English translation by Alexander Teixeira De Mattos : Arsène Lupin Versus Holmlock Shears, which chose a slightly different, but no less obviously parodic, name.

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The original first English edition (LondonGrant Richards Ltd., 1909)

Arsène Lupin in America

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Maurice Leblanc, The Blonde Lady , New York, Doubleday, Page & Company  (1928)

One of the most successful characters of French crime fiction worldwide, Arsène Lupin, was introduced to French readers in the July 1905 issue of the magazine Je sais tout. The story “L’Arrestation d’Arsène Lupin,” is  somewhat paradoxically titled, considering that, far from stopping Lupin in his tracks, it became the first in a series comprising a total of 36 short stories and 19 novels. Arsène Lupin is introduced as he finds himself in the midst of a transatlantic journey, “five hundred miles from the French coast”. While this particular journey was thwarted by Lupin’s arrest, the books themselves fared better and Lupin’s adventures were soon translated into English, rapidly making their way across the Atlantic. The Exploits of Arsene Lupin were published in the same year in both France and in America (1907), the latter in a translation by Alexander Teixeira De Mattos (New York, Harper, 1907). Similarly, it took only a few months for the 1909 novelization of Leblanc and Francis de Croisset’s eponymous play to be published in New York, in October 1909. From then on, a succession of books by Le Blanc (sic) featuring Lupin took hold of the American market.

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Maurice Leblanc, Arsène Lupin, New York, Doubleday, Page & Company, October 1909, illustration by  H. Richard Boehm, translation by Edgar Jepson Continue reading