Chevalier d'Albert fantasizes about his ideal lover, yet every woman he meets falls short of his exacting standards of female perfection. Embarking on an affair with the lovely Rosette to ease his boredom, he is thrown into tumultuous confusion when she receives a dashing young visitor. Exquisitely handsome, Theodore inspires passions d'Albert never believed he could feel for a man - and Rosette also seems to be in thrall to the charms of her guest. Does this bafflingly alluring person have a secret to hide? Subversive and seductive, Mademoiselle de Maupin (1835) draws readers into the bedrooms and boudoirs of a French chateau in a compelling exploration of desire and sexual intrigue.
Theophile Gautier (1811-72), French painter, poet, novelist, and critic, was a leading exponent of Art for Art's Sake, preparing the way for the Parnassians and Symbolists in their reaction against Romanticism. Helen Constantine was Head of Languages at Bartholomew School, Eynsham, until she became a full-time translator. She is currently translating Dangerous Liaisons by Laclos, also for Penguin. She has recently published a volume of translated stories, Paris Tales, for OUP, and is co-editor of the magazine Modern Poetry in Translation. She is married to the poet, David Constantine. Patricia Duncker is the author of short stories, essays and several novels, including Hallucinating Foucault and Seven Tales of Sex and Death (2003). She is also Professor of Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia.