The Werewolf of Paris

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The Werewolf of Paris (1933) is a horror novel by Guy Endore. The novel follows Bertrand Caillet, the main character, who turns into a werewolf. The book is sometimes considered the Dracula of werewolf literature.

Plot summary[edit]

Bertrand is born on a Christmas Eve to a woman who had been molested by a priest. She shares the last name of a family previously known to have produced a werewolf.

Bertrand grows up with strange sadistic and sexual desires which are usually expressed as dreams. Sometimes the dreams are memories of actual experiences in which he had transformed into a wolf.

His step-uncle, Aymar Galliez, who raises the boy (along with his mother and a servant), soon finds out about Bertrand's affliction. Bertrand flees to Paris after an assault on a prostitute, an incestuous union with his mother and a murder in their home village. Aymar tries to find Bertrand by studying the details of local crimes, such as mauling of corpses and various murders.

Bertrand joins the National Guard during the Franco-Prussian War, doing little fighting and finding love from a girl who works at a canteen. However Bertrand and his love, Sophie, are forced to deal with his affliction. They try to avoid the violent effects of his transformation by cutting into parts of her body and allowing him to suck her blood.

Aymar finds Bertrand in Paris during the Paris Commune, but does nothing. Bertrand is caught attacking a man after transforming into a wolf. Aymar supports burning Bertrand at the stake, but a court trial sentences him to an infirmary.

Aymar transfers Bertrand to an asylum after the Versaillists have taken back Paris. Unbeknownst to Aymar, Bertrand suffers in a small cell, drugged when he is visited by his uncle. Bertrand eventually commits suicide by jumping from the building with a girl he mistakenly believes is Sophie. Their deaths are similar to a suicide fantasy that Bertrand and Sophie enjoyed; the real Sophie had previously committed suicide on her own, unable to deal with her separation from Bertrand.

Trivia[edit]

Despite the fact that Endore worked for Universal Studios, The Werewolf of Paris did not serve as the basis either for Werewolf of London (1936) or The Wolf Man (1940). Hammer Studios' Curse of the Werewolf (1962) was the first adaptation of the story.

References[edit]

  • Bleiler, Everett (1948). The Checklist of Fantastic Literature. Chicago: Shasta Publishers, 109.