Maurice Level

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Portrait of Maurice Level

Maurice Level (August 29, 1875 – April 15, 1926) was a French writer of fiction and drama who specialized in short stories of the macabre which were printed regularly in the columns of Paris newspapers and sometimes staged by le Théâtre du Grand-Guignol, the repertory company in Paris's Pigalle district devoted to melodramatic productions which emphasized blood and gore.

Many of Level's stories were translated into English in the magazine Weird Tales.[1]

H. P. Lovecraft observed of Level's fiction in his essay Supernatural Horror in Literature (1927): "This type, however, is less a part of the weird tradition than a class peculiar to itself — the so-called conte cruel, in which the wrenching of the emotions is accomplished through dramatic tantalizations, frustrations and gruesome physical horrors". Critic Philippe Gontier wrote: "We can only admire, now almost one hundred years later, the great artistry with which Maurice Level fabricated his plots, with what care he fashioned all the details of their unfolding and how with a master's hand he managed the building of suspense".

Selected works in French[edit]

  • L'épouvante: Roman (1908)
  • Vivre pour la patrie (1909)
  • Les Portes de l'Enfer (1910)
  • Les Oiseaux de nuit (1913)
  • L'Alouette: Roman (1918)
  • Mado (1919)
  • Le Manteau d'arlequin: Roman (1919)
  • L'Ombre: Roman (1921)
  • Le Crime: Roman (1921)
  • Au pays du tendre (1921)
  • Les mortes étranger (1921)
  • L'Île sans nom (1922)
  • Le Marchand des secrets (1923)
  • La Cité de voleurs: Roman (1924)
  • L'Engima de Bellavista (1929)

Selected works in English[edit]

  • The Grip of Fear (1909) translated by Alys Eyre Macklin
    • a.k.a. Crises: Tales of Mystery and Horror (1920)
    • a.k.a. Grand Guignol Stories (1922)
  • Those Who Return (1923) translated by Bérengère Drillien
  • Stories of Fear and Fascination: The Fiction of Maurice Level (2007) edited by John Robert Colombo with appreciations by Philippe Gontier, Battered Silicon Dispatch Box.


  1. ^ Stefan R. Dziemianowicz, "Introduction", to 100 Wild Little Weird Tales,edited by Robert Weinberg, Dziemianowicz and Martin H. Greenberg, Barnes and Noble, 1994 (pp. xvii-xix). ISBN 1-56619-557-8 .

External links[edit]