Erckmann-Chatrian's picture


(Alexandre Chatrian and Émile Erckmann)

Erckmann-Chatrian is a pen name for two writers : Émile Erckmann (Phalsbourg 1822 - Lunéville 1899) and Alexandre Chatrian (Soldatenthal 1826 - Villemomble 1890)

Both Erckmann and Chatrian were born in the département of Moselle, in the Lorraine region in the extreme north-east of France. They specialised in military fiction and ghost stories in a rustic mode, applying to the Vosges mountain range and the Alsace-Lorraine region techniques inspired by story-tellers from the Black Forest. Lifelong friends who first met in the spring of 1847, they finally quarreled during the mid-1880s, after which they did not produce any more stories jointly. During 1890 Chatrian died, and Erckmann wrote a few pieces under his own name.

Many of Erckmann-Chatrian's works were translated into English by Adrian Ross.

Tales of supernatural horror by the duo that are famous in English include "The Wild Huntsman" (tr. 1871), "The Man-Wolf" (tr. 1876) and "The Crab Spider." These stories received praise from the renowned English ghost story writer, M. R. James, as well as H. P. Lovecraft.

Erckmann-Chatrian wrote numerous historical novels, some of which attacked the Second Empire in anti-monarchist terms. Partly as a result of their republicanism, they were praised by Victor Hugo and Émile Zola, and fiercely attacked in the pages of Le Figaro. Gaining popularity from 1859 for their nationalistic, anti-militaristic and anti-German sentiments, they were well-selling authors but had trouble with political censorship throughout their careers. Generally the novels were written by Erckmann, and the plays mostly by Chatrian.
Anthologies containing stories by Erckmann-Chatrian
Short stories
The White and the Black (1847)
The Mysterious Sketch (1849)
The Child Stealer (1867)
The Murderer's Violin (1876)
The Three Souls (1876)
The Crab Spider (1901)