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Benoit, Pierre

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1886-1962) French poet and author, whose poetry preceded his service in World War One; he became a pacifist after being invalided out of the army. Many of his numerous romantic adventures contain fantastic elements, beginning with the second of them – L'Atlantide (1919; trans Arthur Chambers as The Queen of Atlantis 1920; preferred trans Mary C Tongue and Mary Ross, vt Atlantida 15 August-1 September 1920 Adventure; 1920) – which has remained well known outside France. A Lost World tale clearly influenced by the work of H Rider Haggard, it is in fact far more explicit (see Sex), and told within a more sophisticated, elaborate Club Story frame. Two French Foreign Legion officers travel into the heart of the Sahara, being guided through a vast and baffling Labyrinth into unknown territory, where they are captured by a lost race of Atlanteans and learn that Atlantis had been an Island in the Saharan Sea. They are then introduced to Queen Antinea (all Benoit's female leads have names beginning with A), a She-like enchantress who uses her sexual prowess to seduce white males, fifty-three of them so far, and all of them invaders from Europe looking for eros and loot in Dark Africa (see Imperialism; Race in SF). After she has thoroughly used her "victims", she kills them and preserves their bodies for display, her main motive for this behaviour being explicitly to take revenge European "explorers" for their treatment of African women from time immemorial. One of the Legionnaires monkishly resists her, the other kills him (the body is duly transformed by an electrolytic process into orichalcum) but himself escapes, only to be vilified for the murder he has committed. The novel has several times been filmed (see Die Herrin von Atlantis). Further works of the fantastic by Benoit await translation. [JC]

Ferdinand Marie Pierre Benoit

born Albi, France: 16 July 1886

died Ciboure, France: 3 March 1962


  • L'Atlantide (Paris: Albin Michel, 1919) [in the publisher's Le Roman Littéraire series: pb/nonpictorial]
    • The Queen of Atlantis (London: Hutchinson, 1920) [trans by Arthur Chambers of the above: hb/]
    • Atlantida (New York: Duffield, 1920) [preferred trans by Mary C Tongue and Mary Ross of the above: this trans first appeared 15 August-1 September 1920 Adventure: hb/]
  • La Chaussée des Géants ["The Giants' Path"] (Paris: Albin Michel, 1922) [binding unknown/]
  • L'Oubliée ["The Forgotten Woman"] (Paris: Albin Michel, 1922) [binding unknown/]
  • Le Puit de Jacob ["Jacob's Well"] (Paris: Albin Michel, 1925) [binding unknown/]
  • Le Roi Lépreux ["The Leper King"] (Paris: Albin Michel, 1927) [binding unknown/]
  • Axelle (Paris: Albin Michel, 1928) [binding unknown/]
    • Axelle (New York: The Dial Press, 1930) [trans of the above: translator not credited: hb/]
  • Le Soleil de Minuit ["The Midnight Sun"] (Paris: Albin Michel, 1930) [binding unknown/]
  • L'Homme qui était trop grand ["The Man Who Was Too Tall"] (Paris: Mercure de France, 1936) [binding unknown/]
  • Bethsabée (Paris: Albin Michel, 1938) [binding unknown/]
  • Lunegarde ["Moonkeep"] (Paris: Albin Michel, 1942) [binding unknown/]
  • L'Oiseau des Runes ["The Rune Bird"] (Paris: Albin Michel, 1947) [binding unknown/]
  • Aïno (Paris: Albin Michel, 1948) [binding unknown/]
  • Les Agriates ["The Desert of Agriates"] (Paris: Albin Michel, 1950) [binding unknown/]
  • La Sainte Vehme ["The Holy Vehme"] (Paris: Albin Michel, 1954) [binding unknown/]
  • Ville Perdue ["Lost City"] (Paris: Albin Michel, 1954) [binding unknown/]
  • Montsalvat (Paris: Albin Michel, 1957) [binding unknown/]

about the author


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