Publishing News (October 2018)

Cult classic of French Gothic: first English translation

Coup for independent UK publisher

Pauliska or Modern Perversity by Jacques-Antoine Révéroni, baron de Saint-Cyr

INDEPENDENT UK publisher Tartarus has announced the publication of the first ever English translation of a minor classic of French Gothic.

Pauliska or Modern Perversity  concerns a noble young mother buffeted by misfortune, flying from one disaster to the next, only to fall victim, time and again, to seemingly supernatural depravity. In the course of her adventures, Pauliska traverses the greater part of Europe and winds up in the clutches of mad scientists, libertines, political conspirators, smugglers, counterfeiters, and more.


Very much a volume of the roman noir genre, the work was written by Jacques-Antoine Révéroni, baron de Saint-Cyr (1767-1829), who belonged to a family of Italian extraction that followed Catherine de’ Medici to France.

According to Tartarus: ‘Despite its debt to de Sade’s Justine, its contradictions, sensationalistic title and generic traits, Pauliska displays genuine originality and gusto.’

Erik Butler has translated some half-dozen literary works from European languages, including Giambattista Marino’s epic poem about King Herod, Massacre of the Innocents and Oskar Panizza’s learned treatise on swine-worship as the root of human culture, The Pig in Poetic (2016), Mythological (2016), and Moral-Historical Perspective (2015).

Butler, who lives in San Francisco, has also written two cultural histories of vampirism and a study on martial representations of language in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. 


Révéroni interspersed writing with an undistinguished military career. Failing to gain a foothold in the republic of letters, Révéroni ultimately went insane and died more or less forgotten.

The Tartarus Pauliska is a sewn hardback of 235 pages, printed lithographically, with a silk ribbon marker. It comes in a limited edition of 300 copies. The price, including worldwide delivery, is £35. An Ebook version is available at £4.99.

Among other European works,Tartarus also have available in translation Clarimonde and Other Stories by Theophile Gautier – Gautier’s fantastic tales of supernatural phenomena (a hardback limited to 300 copies, £35) and E.T.A. Hoffmann’s The Sand-Man and Other Night Pieces, in which the German master explores the darker side of the human spirit. (A hardback edition of 500 copies, also £35.)

The Tartarus website is here: Tartarus