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About Jean Lorrain
Poet, novelist, journalist, literary critic, exquisite and pervert; friend of Jules Barbey d'Aurevilly, Joris-Karl Huysmans, Edmond de Goncourt, Sarah Bernhardt (for whom he wrote unsuccessfully several plays), Liane de Pougy, and many others.
Lorrain was a flamboyant homosexual with a taste for outrageous posturing, wrestlers and low company. Even at the annual student Bal des Quat'z'Arts, "famous for the scantness of the garments worn and the raving sexuality always reigning there", he shocked by arriving in a pink bathing costume, draped in a panther skin cloak given him by the wrestler Marseille. "Lorrain", Leon Daudet wrote in his 'Recollections', "had the large, chubby head of a depraved hairdresser ... globular, stunned, greedy eyes, and fat lips which flapped, dribbled and spurted when he spoke. He scavenged on slander and garbage, and his torso bulged just like the sternum of some carrion bird." Simultaneously aesthete, dandy, and enthusiastic explorer of the darker worlds of Belle Epoque vices and vulgarity, he earned himself the scorn of Robert de Montesquiou, of whom Lorrain in turn made a regular public whipping-boy for his claims to elegance and chastity.
1886 he was challenged to a duel by Guy de Maupassant, who had identified the character "Beaufrilan" in Lorrain's second novel "Très Russe" as being an attack on him. The duel never took place. In 1897 Lorrain did fight, this time with Marcel Proust in woods at Meudon, Villebon, over a poisoned review he had given Proust's "Les Plaisirs et les Jours". A shot each was fired - possibly in the air - and neither man was injured.
His health deteriorating as a result of drug abuse - ether in particular - and syphilis, Lorrain travelled to Peira-Cava, Boréon and Châtel-Guyon and took cures, but died in hospital in Paris, on June 30, 1906 at the age of fifty, of peritonitis caused by a botched enema. He is buried at Fécamp.