Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Sue, Eugène

(1804-1857) Working name of Marie-Joseph Sue, a French writer who achieved great but brief celebrity as a feuilletonist in the early 1840s, when radical periodicals fielded him as the chief rival of their royalist adversaries' champion storyteller, Alexandre Dumas. His early melodramas of bloody piracy gave way to sweeping analyses of city life – paying particular attention to the criminal activities of rich and poor – like Les Mystères of Paris (1842-1843; 1843; trans J D Smith as The Mysteries of Paris 1844). Another sprawling epic was Le juif errant (1844-1845; trans D M Aird as The Wandering Jew 1844-1845 UK), in which the descendants of a man who once aided the Wandering Jew are summoned to Paris to receive the fortune which has been gathering interest for centuries. The supernatural elements are symbolic, after the fashion of Ahasvérus (1833) by Edgar Quinet (1803-1875); the Jew stands for dispossessed labourers and his consort Herodias for downtrodden womankind (Sue was a feminist of sorts as well as a radical socialist). [BS]

Marie-Joseph Sue

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This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.