Our Bookseller says:
Of Kings and Things is an utterly enthralling collection of Decadent writing by Count Stanislaus Eric Stenbock, a man so tortured that he feels fictional himself. Every single fact about him is jostling for the position of “most insane conversation starter” (he never travelled without a monkey, a toad, and a wooden call he called his son! he compared his own homosexuality to lyncanthropy and vampirism!) and they’re all winning: the first time I read his biography I thought I was being pranked. But these stories, this poetry? They might be linguistically overwrought — look, you would write like that too if you were him — but they’re deeply, totally genuine. And more than slightly tragic. -Terry
An introduction to the Decadent writer Stanislaus Eric Stenbock for the general reader, offering morbid stories, suicidal poems, and an autobiographical essay.
Described by W. B. Yeats as a “scholar, connoisseur, drunkard, poet, pervert, most charming of men,” Count Stanislaus Eric Stenbock (1860–1895) is surely the greatest exemplar of the Decadent movement of the late nineteenth century.
A friend of Aubrey Beardsley, patron of the extraordinary pre-Raphaelite artist Simeon Solomon, and contemporary of Oscar Wilde, Stenbock died at the age of thirty-six as a result of his addiction to opium and his alcoholism, having published just three slim volumes of suicidal poetry and one collection of morbid short stories.
Stenbock was a homosexual convert to Roman Catholicism and owner of a serpent, a toad, and a dachshund called Trixie. It was said that toward the end of his life he was accompanied everywhere by a life-size wooden doll that he believed to be his son. His poems and stories are replete with queer, supernatural, mystical, and Satanic themes; original editions of his books are highly sought by collectors of recherché literature.
Of Kings and Things is the first introduction to Stenbock’s writing for the general reader, offering fifteen stories, eight poems and one autobiographical essay by this complex figure.