Hell (Barbusse novel)

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First unabridged English edition
(publ. Chapman and Hall)

Hell (French: L'Enfer) is a 1908 novel by Henri Barbusse,[1] in which the unnamed narrator peers into a hole in the wall of his hotel room. From the other side, he witnesses lesbianism, adultery, incest, and death. It is only when he feels he has uncovered all the secrets of life that he decides to leave the room for good. But, as he attempts to leave, he is overcome with a backache and blindness.[citation needed]

Colin Wilson gave considerable attention to Barbusse's novel in his influential work The Outsider.[2]

English translations[edit]

L'Enfer has been translated into English twice, first as The Inferno by Edward J. O'Brien for Boni and Liveright in 1918 in an abridged form, and then in full as Hell by Robert Baldick for Chapman and Hall in 1966 - later reissued by Turtle Point Press in 1995.[3]


  1. ^ http://cather.unl.edu/cs007_harris.html
  2. ^ Wilson, Collin, The Outsider: An Enquiry Into the Nature of the Sickness of Mankind in the Mid-Twentieth Century, London: Gollancz, 1956
  3. ^ http://www.turtlepointpress.com/catalogue/barbusse-hell.html