18 February 2018

Jean Lorrain (Paul Duval) in Fécamp (76), Seine-Maritime (76)

1855 – 1906'

Paul Duval was born in Fécamp, where he is buried. He wrote as Jean Lorrain and was one of the most colourful characters of the period. He was a homosexual who wore corsets, make-up, dressed as a woman, dressed in disguises, and frequented the literary world as well as the shadier areas of Paris. His first novel, Les Lepillier (1985), caused a scandal in Fécamp because he drew some his characters from actual people in Fécamp. His childhood friend Maupassant was incensed by the depiction of Beaufrilan in his second novel, Très Russe (1886). In 1887 he fought a duel with Proust over his negative reaction to Proust's first work: Les Plaisirs et les Jours, of which Proust himself later sought to prevent republication. His health disintegrated under the effects of ether and syphilis, and he died at the age of fifty.

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