Entry updated 24 February 2020. Tagged: Author.
(1827-1886) French author whose strong republican views affected his career, sometimes damagingly, and which permeate his work as a whole, giving a mildly transgressive tone to the two tales so far translated into English. Histoire fantastique du célébre Pierrot (1860; trans A G Munro as The Fantastic History of the Celebrated Pierrot 1875) [for subtitles see Checklist below] is a spoofish Tall Tale recounting the triumphant Fantastic Voyage of its eponymous hero, who is far more a Giant-killing Jack than anything resembling the traditional Commedia dell'Arte Pierrot [for Giants, Jack, Commedia dell'Arte and Tall Tale, plus Books and Land of Fable below, see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below]. Assisted by his fairy godmother, Pierrot conquers China and other lands, then retires to his garden. Though clearly far from sf, the gleefully Weapon-heavy narrative makes a clear contribution to nineteenth-century Fantastika.
Assollant's latent affinity with more argued texts is clearer in the case of Les Aventures (merveilleuses mais authentiques) du capitaine Corcoran (1867; trans Sam Miller as The Marvellous (But Authentic) Adventures of Captain Corcoran 2016), whose invincible protagonist – a Superhero avant la lettre who boasts superhuman strength, a grasp of all languages, and the ability to control his tame Bengal tiger through commands that seem almost telepathic – travels to India in 1857 in search of a sacred Book, disrupting en passant, as much as possible, the attempts of the British, which were successful in the real world, to colonize the vastly complex subcontinent (see Imperialism). [JC]
born Aubusson, Creuse, France: 20 March 1827
died Paris: 3 March 1886
works (highly selected)
- Histoire fantastique du célébre Pierrot, écrite par le magicien Alcofribas, traduite du Sogdien (Paris: Michel Lévy frères, 1860) [binding unknown/]
- The Fantastic History of the Celebrated Pierrot, Written by the Magician Alcofribas, and Translated from the Sogdian (London: Sampson Low, Marston, Low, and Searle, 1875) [dated 1875 but probably released before Christmas 1874: trans by A G Munro of the above: illus/hb/Yan' Dargent]
- Les Aventures (merveilleuses mais authentiques) du capitaine Corcoran (Paris: Librairie de L Hachette et Cie, 1867) [binding unknown/]
- The Marvellous (But Authentic) Adventures of Captain Corcoran (London: Vintage, 2016) [trans by Sam Miller of the above: illus/hb/Alphonse de Neuville]
- Internet Speculative Fiction Database
- The Encyclopedia of Fantasy: Books; Commedia Dell'arte; Giants; Jack; Land of Fable; Tall Tale.
- Picture Gallery
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