Sunday, November 16, 2008

Berbiguier - Illustration from "All The Demons Are Not From The Other World" 1818-20.

"Alexis-Vincent-Charles Berbiguier de Terre-Neuve du Thym, (1765 - December 3, 1851), was a French author and demonologist who may have been suffering from psychosis. He was born, and died, in Carpentras in the south of France, and was the heir to an estate, which he used to finance the publication of his unusual memoirs. He is remembered chiefly for his lengthy biography, Les farfadets ou Tous les démons ne sont pas de l'autre monde ("The Imps; or, All the demons are not from the other world"), originally published in three volumes between 1818 and 1820. The book was handsomely illustrated by a series of lithographs whose originals were sketched by Berbiguier himself.

This autobiography recounts Berbiguier's life long struggle with farfadets, "imps" or "goblins". He relates that these imps harassed him persistently ever since his unfortunate encounter with two "sibyls", or fortune tellers, whom he consulted in an idle moment in his youth. For this sin, he was delivered into the hands of impish tormentors. The imps continued to follow Berbiguier through several lengthy stays in Avignon and Paris. The chief imp among his tormentors was named Rhotomago; Rhotomago's immediate superior was Beelzebub himself. He alleged that he received, and answered, written correspondence from all of these Hellish dignitaries.

The autobiography relates Berbiguier's struggles with the imps. He was able to capture some of them, and confine them in bottles. Sulphur and thyme were two odours he found were effective to repel them. The book tells of an adventure he had with firefighters during a sojourn in Paris, where he attracted the alarmed notice of neighbours by burning sulphur to keep the imps at bay. Notwithstanding his efforts, the imps continued to tempt and torment him. The title de Terre-Neuve du Thym was self-bestowed; it means "of the New World of Thyme," and shows his hope that revealing his methods will renew the world and purge it of impish influences. He also bestowed upon himself the style Le Fléau des Farfadets, "the Scourge of the Imps."
- quote source from article at Wikipedia.

Second version of above image, illustration for 'Les Farfadets' by Berbiguier, lithograph, 1821.

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