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d'Esme, Jean

Entry updated 11 August 2018. Tagged: Author.

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Working name of China-born author Jean D'Esmenard (1893-1966), in France from an early age; not to be confused with the painter Jacques Boullaire (1893-1976), who also worked as Jean d'Esme. Les dieux rouges (1923; trans Moreby Acklom as The Red Gods: A Romance 1924) is a Lost World tale of some complexity, and considerable grimness, set in mountain fastnesses to the north of Indo-China (probably present-day Laos), frame-narrated by a colleague of the protagonist, who – after giving his lover to a Cro-Magnon hero rather on the lines of Robert E Howard's Conan – escapes Indo-China, which has been morally contaminated by its French rulers, only to die in World War One. During his sojourn, he has discovered a hidden territory whose flora and fauna are relics of Gondwanaland, and whose Cro-Magnon hunter-gatherer hero-figures are dominated by the priestesses of a sacrifice-obsessed Religion. None of d'Esme's further tales have been translated into English. [JC]

Vicomte Jean D'Esmenard

born Shanghai, China: 27 September 1893

died Nice, France: 24 February 1966

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