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A page with Fantasmagoriana in large letters, with its subtitle and publication details
First edition, volume 1 title page
AuthorJohann Karl August Musäus, Johann August Apel, Friedrich Laun, Heinrich Clauren
TranslatorJean-Baptiste Benoît Eyriès
GenreGerman Gothic fiction
PublisherF. Schoell
Publication date
Media typePrint, Duodecimo

Fantasmagoriana is a French anthology of German ghost stories, translated anonymously by Jean-Baptiste Benoît Eyriès and published in 1812. Most of the stories are from the first two volumes of Johann August Apel and Friedrich Laun's Gespensterbuch (1811), with other stories by Johann Karl August Musäus and Heinrich Clauren.

It was read by Lord Byron, Mary Shelley, Percy Bysshe Shelley, John William Polidori and Claire Clairmont at the Villa Diodati in Cologny, Switzerland during 1816, the Year Without a Summer, and inspired them to write their own ghost stories, including "The Vampyre" (1819), and Frankenstein (1818), both of which went on to shape the Gothic horror genre.[1]


Fantasmagoriana takes its name from Étienne-Gaspard Robert's Fantasmagorie, a phantasmagoria show (French: fantasmagoria, from fantasme, "fantasy" or "hallucination", and possibly Greek: , agorá, "assembly" or "meeting", with the suffix -ia) of the late 1790s and early 1800s, using magic lantern projection through smoke together with ventriloquism and other sound effects to give the impression of ghosts (French: fantôme).[2][3] This is appended with the suffix -iana, which "denotes a collection of objects or information relating to a particular individual, subject, or place".[4][5]

The subtitle "Recueil d'histoires, d'apparitions, de spectres, revenans, fantômes, etc.; Traduit de l'allemand, par un Amateur" translates as "anthology of stories of apparitions of spectres, revenants, phantoms, etc.; translated from the German by an amateur".

The book and its title went on to inspire others by different authors, named in a similar vein: Spectriana (1817), Démoniana (1820) and Infernaliana (1822).[3]


Eyriès chose a selection of eight German ghost stories to translate for a French audience. The first story ("L'Amour Muet") was from Johann Karl August Musäus' satirical retellings of traditional folk tales Volksmärchen der Deutschen (1786). The next ("Portraits de Famille") was by Johann August Apel, first published in 1805, but reprinted in his anthology Cicaden (1810). Of the remaining six tales, five were from the first two volumes of Apel and Laun's Gespensterbuch (1811), and one ("La Chambre Grise") was by the highly popular author Heinrich Clauren, which had been parodied by Apel in one of his Gespensterbuch stories ("Die schwarze Kammer", translated as "La Chambre Noire").[6]Fantasmagoriana was translated into English in 1813 by Sarah Elizabeth Brown Utterson as Tales of the Dead with only three of the six stories from Gespensterbuch. Three editions in three countries and languages over a period of three years shows that these ghost stories were very popular.[7]

List of stories

Vol. Fantasmagoriana English translation German original German source Author
1 "L'Amour Muet" Dumb Love "Stumme Liebe" Volksmärchen der Deutschen, vol. 4 Musäus
1 "Portraits de Famille" Family Portraits "Die Bilder der Ahnen" Cicaden, vol. 1 Apel
1 "La Tête de Mort" The Death's Head "Der Todtenkopf" Das Gespensterbuch, vol. 2 Laun
2 "La Morte Fiancée" The Death Bride "Die Todtenbraut" Das Gespensterbuch, vol. 2 Laun
2 "L'Heure Fatale" The Fated Hour "Die Verwandtschaft mit der Geisterwelt" Das Gespensterbuch, vol. 1 Laun
2 "Le Revenant" The Revenant "Der Geist des Verstorbenen" Das Gespensterbuch, vol. 1 Laun
2 "La Chambre Grise" The Grey Chamber "Die graue Stube (Eine buchstäblich wahre Geschichte)" Der Freimüthige (newspaper) Clauren
2 "La Chambre Noire" The Black Chamber "Die schwarze Kammer. Anekdote" Das Gespensterbuch, vol. 2 Apel


  1. ^ Macdonald, D. L.; Scherf, Kathleen (2008). "Introduction". The Vampyre and Ernestus Berchtold; or, The Modern OEdipus. Peterborough: Broadview Editions. p. 10.
  2. ^ Barber, Theodore (1989). Phantasmagorical Wonders: The Magic Lantern Ghost Show in Nineteenth-Century America. Indiana University Press. pp. 73-75.
  3. ^ a b Hale, Terry (1994). "Introduction". Tales of the Dead (2nd ed.). The Gothic Society. p. 12.
  4. ^ "-iana". Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged (10th ed.). HarperCollins. 2012. Retrieved 2015.
  5. ^ "-ana". Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged (10th ed.). HarperCollins. 2012. Retrieved 2015.
  6. ^ Herzfeld, Georg; Rosenbaum, Alfred (July 1915). "Ze Den Quellen Der Fantasmagoriana". Englische Studien (in German). Leipzig: O. R. Reisland. 49 (1): 157-159.
  7. ^ van Woudenberg, Maximiliaan (2014). "The Variants and Transformations of Fantasmagoriana: Tracing a Travelling Text to the Byron-Shelley Circle". Romanticism. 20.3: 306-320.

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