Auguste Rodin, lithograph for Le Jardin des supplices, Ambroise Vollard, 1902
Anarchist, Symbolist, insubordinate dreyfusard, man about town, Octave Mirbeau is an indispensable maître mineur of the Third Republic. His most popular work, Le Journal d’une femme de chambre, merited film treatment by the greatest Latin directors of all times, Luis Buñuel and Jean Renoir. His most scandalous novel remains unfilmable. In Le Jardin des supplices, which appeared in 1899, at the height of the Dreyfus Affair, Mirbeau targeted fear and hatred, the twin foundations of bourgeois society, in a narrative arc traversing the terrain of desire and disgust to culminate in a strange sexual obsession. ( Collapse ) As a rodent, the rat is both taxonomically and etymologically dedicated to gnawing, rodere. Its intelligence and tenacity culminate in omnivoracity tending towards the extreme forms of cannibalism, qualifying this potentially docile and easily trained animal as an exemplary consumer in the wild. Since its inception 110 years ago, Mirbeau’s conjuration of rodential ass torture has gnawed and wriggled its way through the margins of respectable culture. ( Collapse )
In our own time, we find a more extroverted way of flaunting deceased rodents in a male posterior: ( Collapse )
…which after all, is only a contrapositive to the popular practice of not giving a rat’s ass.
Crossposted to larvatus and strange_tears.