By Jan Potocki
A literary masterpiece by means of a Polish vacationer, aristocratic adventurer, political activist, ethnographer and publisher
Alphonse, a tender Walloon officer, is traveling to hitch his regiment in Madrid in 1739. yet he quickly reveals himself mysteriously detained at a road resort within the unusual and sundry corporation of thieves, brigands, cabbalists, noblemen, coquettes and gypsies, whose tales he documents over sixty-six days. The ensuing manuscript is came upon a few 40 years later in a sealed casket, from which stories of characters reworked via hide, magic and phantasm, of honour and cowardice, of hauntings and seductions, bounce forth to create a colourful polyphony of human voices. Jan Potocki (1761-1812) used more than a few literary types - gothic, picaresque, event, pastoral, erotica - in his novel of stories-within-stories, which, just like the Decameron and Tales from the Thousand and One Nights, offers leisure on an epic scale.
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