THE name of this website pays homage to one of the canonical works in short fiction of the supernatural.
Guy de Maupassant’s short story ‘The Horla’ (‘Le Horla’ in his native French) was first published in its most recognised form in 1887 (an initial, much shorter, version having appeared in a newspaper a year previously).
For those who have not read the story – and, unsurprisingly, we strongly recommend that you do – it tells (in a journal form) how an unmarried upper-class man invites terror into his country home when he chooses to wave to a fine-looking ship he catches sight of sailing on the river near his house – thereby unconsciously inviting the supernatural entity that is aboard it to visit him.
Maupassant (left, 1850-1893) is seen by many as one of the fathers of the modern short story.
From a prosperous bourgeois family, he wrote 300 of them, a number exploring hauntings, mysteries, tragedies and the supernatural, such as ‘The Hand’ and ‘The Gamekeeper’. His first, ‘Boule de Suif’, probably remains his most famous.
Suffering syphilis, he attempted suicide and, in 1893, died in a Paris asylum at the age of 42.
The word ‘Horla’ is not itself French, but has been taken to be a neologism, or invented word, concatenating ‘horror / horreur’ and ‘la’, the French word for ‘there’. The meaning or reference that can perhaps be taken, in the view of some scholars, is that which is out there.
We at horla.org were delighted to come across some contemporary art (below) inspired by Guy de Maupassant’s tale.
The creator is Marine Lannoy, a France-based artist who describes herself as a young content creator and aspiring visual artist, who’s studied Game art and visual arts in a video game school in Paris.
Marine (left) explains: ‘I worked on these artworks to improve my storytelling and illustration skills. It was at first a project for class: Making illustration(s) that are depicting parts of a novel of my choice.
‘I chose “Le Horla” to illustrate it; I simply loved the short story. It was, in a way, frightening and at the same time, mesmerizing because I had all kind of images in my head and I wanted to illustrate the whole story… but at a certain point I couldn’t spend that much time on the project, of course.’
But she adds: ‘I really enjoyed it.’
Speaking more broadly about her work, Marine says: ‘I’ve always been the autodidact type, and still am. What I am looking for, above all, is to always improve myself and to be able, in the long term, to put all the ideas that come to me on paper. The power of creation is an incredible thing!’
For more about Marine, a link to her website can be found below.
Meanwhile here are her illustrations inspired by ‘Le Horla’. We hope you like them as much as we do!
Marine Lannoy’s principal website is: www.artstation.com/marinelannoy
Keyhole, a collection of short stories with a supernatural twist by Matthew G. Rees, is available from publishers www.threeimpostors.co.uk and other outlets. See www.matthewgrees.com
We are always interested to receive submissions of fine art and photographs appropriate to our genre for publication here at horla.org
Examples of work can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Images are best sent in Jpeg format attached to an email.
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