Paris: Urbain Canel (1826). 226pp.
The controversial anonymous novel, originally attributed to the Duchesse Claire de Duras, created a scandal when published. The story revolves around a romantic intrigue that was in fact based upon the homosexual Marquis de Custine’s broken engagement to Duras’ daughter in 1820. Although never explicit, the novel was clearly designed to provoke and it actually prevented Duras from publishing her own similarly titled novel during her lifetime (it only appeaed in 1971).
At one point in the novel, the narrator remarks, “Confidence was full and reciprocal between the two friends... except on one point, the subject of their loves....Olivier, in this matter, was reserved and excessively mysterious.” See Kilian, Nos ancêtres, les pervers: Reading Queerly and Constructing the Homosexual Before the Closet.