The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

The Werewolf of Paris, Guy Endore’s best-known work, appeared in 1933 and created a sensation, going through numerous printings that unfortunately did not benefit the author, who reportedly sold the work for $750. The novel purports to be a scholarly expansion of a deposition by Aymar Galliez, a semi-invalid and former revolutionary Napoleonic supporter, composed for the trial of his nephew Bertrand Calliet. Bertrand is charged with attacking and biting a fellow soldier. The document recounts the life and violent exploits of Bertrand, who is a werewolf.

Bertrand, a member of the dissolute and violent Pitamont family, is the illegitimate son of a corrupt priest and Josephine, a young servant of the Didier household, where Aymar lives. After her seduction, Josephine develops an animalistic preoccupation with sex. Madame Didier discovers her activities and her resulting pregnancy. Josephine is virtually imprisoned during her lying in. Didier instructs Aymar to visit the young woman in her absence. Against his better judgment, he conducts a secret, compulsive affair with Josephine that lasts until his aunt returns.

Aymar scoffs at Didier’s fears that the child, after such a bad conception, will be born on Christmas and thereby be accursed, but the child’s birth does occur on the dreaded day. Later, Didier dies, and Aymar shoulders much of the responsibility for rearing Bertrand, who is an unusually sweet child. Aymar discovers his...

(The entire section is 579 words.)