TORTURE GARDEN. Translated from the French ... by Alvah C. Bessie. With a Foreword by James Huneker. New York: Claude Kendall, 1931. Octavo, pp. [1-20] 1-284, nine illustrations in text by Jeanette Seelhoff, original marbled boards with black cloth shelf back, spine panel stamped in gold, pictorial endpapers. First edition in English. Translation of LE JARDIN DES SUPPLICES (1898), a novel published at the height of the Dreyfus affair on the eve of the trial of Alfred Dreyfus in Rennes, the result of tinkering with texts designed independently of each other, at different times, in different styles and with different characters. Mirbeau, a French anarchist, wrote the central part of novel as a grotesque caricature of the French political circles of the Third Republic. "A deliriously decadent novel of Oriental exoticism, considering torture as one of the fine arts. Not merely Sadistic, but Sadean, termed by Huneker 'the most damnably cruel book in contemporary fiction.' A definite precursor to the graphic horror fiction of our time; a fin de siecle Clive Barker." - Robert Knowlton. A very unfaithful and very melodramatic theatrical adaptation of the novel was produced by Pierre Chaine and Andre de Lorde and represented Theatre Grand Guignol on 28 October 1922, and two films, both unfaithful, were based on the novel. Bleiler (1948), p. 201. Mild rubbing to edges of boards, hint of fading at upper spine end, a nearly fine copy in very good pictorial dust jacket with wear at edges and 10 mm chip from upper spine end. (#148782).